Tablescapes, Home Decor, Thrifting, Cooking

Monday, February 7, 2011

Porcelain Kitty with a Mystery



A few months back my friend Susan and I attended an Estate sale.  It was a great one and I found more things than I should have.  I actually went back on the last day of the three day sale when prices had been cut in half. There were still many items left that were worthy of bringing home.


Since  I have a black and white kitty who is so dear to my heart, it seemed I should take this little porcelain piece home with me.


Don’t we all flip things over to see what markings we might recognize?  This name didn’t mean much to me but I did like the fact that it was from Germany.  The owner of the home had great taste and I felt sure this was a found treasure.



Here’s what I found on an antique collectibles sight:

The Erphila trademark was used by Ebeling & Ruess Co. of Philadelphia between 1886 and the 1950s. The company imported quality porcelain and pottery from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Italy and France. In general, Erphila pieces are scarce, not easily found.



I do think Maggie and Estate sale kitty could be related!  You don’t know how many times I have walked by my dresser thinking Maggie was sitting there when it’s really just the estate sale kitty.



Okay now for the mystery.  Here’s where one of you might come in  to help.  This little thing has a cork plug in the bottom and appears to be filled with sand.  Why is that?  I can’t find anything online when I search for information about Erphila pieces that indicates anything about the cork or the sand.



I mentioned it to my daughter Jamie one day and she said maybe it was really an urn…an urn the original owner had used to store the ashes of her beloved cat!!!  YIKES!  I never thought of that!!  Could it be? 



For some reason, I don’t think so.  It is quite heavy.  Do any of you have any knowledge of this?  I’d love to hear if you do.


I’m joining Marty’s blog ~~ A Stroll Thru Life  and Tabletop Tuesday  with a little vignette today. 

I hope you have lots of good things planned for your week.  I am looking at upcoming Estate sales looking for a secretary for my living room!




Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

I don't have an answer for you but what a great find. It does look like your cat!

is the cork to add sand to the base so it will not fall over? this is like this old house when they do "what is this" with different tools. I will be anxious to hear when u find out!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, what a precious kitty you found and I do believe your little Maggie has found a porcelain friend! :)
Wish I could tell you the answer too. But Ann may be right. Someone may have filled it with sand so someone or some climbing furry kitty wouldn't knock it over! :)
If you find out - let us know.
be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Blondie's Journal said...

It really is a beautiful piece! And it looks SO much like your kitty! I'm curious about the sand, too. It's a real mystery!! Let us know what you learn.


April said...

Wow...that is one incredible find! I wish I could help you solve your mystery, but I haven't a clue! Please be sure to share with us if you happen to find out anything!

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

LOVE the porcelain kitty, but got no clue as to the sand!

Maybe to give it some weight? Just guessing...

Lou Cinda

Miss Char said...

She does resemble Maggie for sure, hopefully they will be friends. I hope Emily isn't correct, what a weird thing that would be. I have no idea what the answer is but hopefully you'll have a clue soon Donna from one of your followers.

Paula@SweetPea said...

I love your sweet kitties, both the real one and the porcelain one. I have no idea why your kitty is full of sand and I really hope that it is sand and not anything else!

Unknown said...

What cute kitties!

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Hi Donna! You know I love the kitty! And...I was so struck by how much Magnolia looks like my Kitty, especially from the side! Now, I think I might have an answer. I think the hole is just part of the process of creating the pottery. I found this on a site where the person had visited the Hummel factory in Germany and here's what they said:
"Each figurine has a hole somewhere. The hole allows gas to escape from the inside of the figurine. Without the hole, the figurine would burst, breaking other figurines in the rack."
Here's that site:
Scroll about half way down to find that quote. I'll bet that's true of making all figurines! Now as for the cork and sand...I think, like the others said, someone just added the sand and cork to make it stable. Otherwise, I have no clue!lol In any case, it sure is a cute kitty! Happy week!...hugs...Debbie

The Polka Dot Closet said...

I hope someone know's the answer, post it if you find out. I am a cat person and the picture of your cat with the figurine is priceless. You should send it into a cat magazine or somewhere to get published.


Sarah said...

Perhaps the kitty is filled with sand and then corked to give it the weight to keep it stable. Could it be a door stop? Sure is a cute one.

Debbiedoos said...

Awesome piece! If I had to guess...I am thinking the piece is very fragile....I think with the sand it is not hollow therefore not as easily breakable...just a wild guess...I have no clue!

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful! What a beautiful find and the resemblance is great.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Love it. Your pictures are gorgeous and your vignette is beautiful. Love both of your furr babies. Thanks so much for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

Unknown said...

Twins how cute are your kittens! I have sent you an award please pop over to take a look

lvroftiques said...

Oh what a cute kitty! And she does look a little like your Maggie...Who is darling BTW! Love that little black chin!
Like some others have said, the sand was added to give the piece weight and stability. I also have a piece filled with sand. Looks a lot like yours on the bottom *winks* Vanna

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Donna...

Ohhh wow...what a great treasure find! The cat figurine is just adorable and really does look like your Maggie! I love it! I was reading Debbie's explanation of the reasoning for the hole in the bottom of this piece...I tend to agree! Every ceramic piece needs a hole for the firing process. I'm wondering if they added the sand to give weight to it...possibly using it as a door stop? Just a thought! Hehe! Ohhh...don't we just love a good mystery?

Well dear friend, thank you so much for sharing your new kitty with us! I'm just tickled pink for you! I hope that my note is finding you well, sweet friend! Are you keeping busy with your floral business? Was thinking that Valentine's Day is probably a busy time for you!

Warmest wishes and Happy Valentine's Day!

Chari @Happy To Design

stitching under oaks said...

maybe your kitty is related to the kitty in the kitty....jk! I couldn't resist. I have to behave myself. I really am in awe at the likeness of your kitty and the porcelain kitty. what a fun find.

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Maybe your kitty posed for that piece during one of his earlier "nine lives"! They do look alike and even sit in the same manner. Good luck finding your answer. Linda

gloria said...

Donna, the cat is filled with sand to give it weight so it can't be knocked over too easily.

The actual hole itself is part of the process for making the figurine, and while it could have been sealed before firing, it was probably left open to accommodate the sand.

Some pieces do explode in the kiln, during firing, when there the hole in them has been sealed, but the hole doesn't have to be very large. When I make ceramic items that I want to seal, I often use a straight pin or needle to put a small hole in an inconspicuous place, usually in the bottom. This helps the gases escape, but isn't a big enough hole to be an eyesore.

Hope that helps answer some of your questions!