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Unusual and very rare Christmas-themed figural match safe of a little boy dressed in a sailor suit carrying a little orange treasure casket with a decorated miniature Christmas tree on top. The chest is lidded and functions as a match safe. The striking surface is located on the forest soil all around the boy. The tree stump behind him is multifunctional and can be used either as a small cigarette holder or a second match safe. Demonstrates the outstanding craftsmanship that the Bernhard Bloch Company is known for.
In the Victorian era, pipe smokers kept their tobacco in a decorative tobacco jar or humidor. Figural tobacco jars were produced mainly in ceramic, typically heads or full figures of people and animals, generally 12 inches or less in height. Most such jars were produced in Bohemia and Germany in the middle to late Victorian era, when pipe smoking replaced snuff as the preferred means of using tobacco.
Bernhard Bloch of Eichwald, Bohemia (now the town of Dubi, Czech Republic), was one of the top producers of figural tobacco jars, and their fine work is still prized by collectors today. The company was founded in 1871 and operated under the Bernhard Bloch name until 1940, when it became Eichwald Porcelain and Stove Factory Bloch & Co. In 1945, the firm was nationalized and combined with other pottery and porcelain makers to form Duchov Porcelain.
Horowitz, Joseph L "What Are Figural Tobacco Jars?" The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles. September 2000. http://www.journalofantiques.com/featursept.htm (3 September 2002).
Rosson, Joe. "History, value run high for 1920s Czech majolica boat." Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tennessee. 3 February 2002. http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/lifestyles_columnists/article/0,1406,KNS_337_967467,00.html (3 September 2002).