1930s Soviet Propaganda Porcelain

This Soviet-era porcelain vase commemorating the North Pole -1 expedition is pretty accurate: four men and a dog named Vesely were dropped off on a drifting ice floe about 12 miles from the North Pole in May, 1937. By the time they were picked up (at great cost) off of Greenland in February, 1938, the ice floe had shrunk considerably in size.

Propaganda porcelain first started to be produced following the Soviet nationalisation of the Imperial Porcelain Factory in 1918. The factory storage was filled with uncoloured plates, vases, and tea sets, which were all used as the bases for a novel form of Soviet propaganda. 

Soviet Colonial Porcelain: How Plates, Vases and Tea-Sets Support the Conquest of Land by Sasha Setsakova

The Science of the North Pole Drifting Stations

The Ancient Greek Inspiration for the Leg Lamp in A Christmas Story

Greek Ceramic Leg Vase, ROM

The famous leg lamp from the classic film A Christmas Story was created by the movie’s production designer, Reuben Freed. But how could it not have been inspired by this Archaic Greek leg vase, created in the early sixth century B.C. and on display in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto?

Human Effigy on Ceramic Pot from New York

Ceramic sherd from New York state. Source: Beauchamp 1898.
Ceramic sherd from New York state. Source: Beauchamp 1898.

Human effigy on ceramic sherd found in Montgomery County, New York. The horizontal grooves across the torso are found on similar effigies on other Iroquoian pots.  Illustrated and described by William Beauchamp, who thought that the long grooves behind the body are suggestive of feathered wings. Undated by Beauchamp, but may postdate European contact.


Beauchamp, William M.

1898       Earthenware of the New York Aborigines. Bulletin of the New York State Museum Volume 5, No. 22. Albany. Figure 41.