Skeuomorphic vessels

In my regular browsings of the ceramic collections I am struck by the number of ‘skeuomorphic’ vessels I encounter. (Skeuomorphism has been defined as ‘the manufacture of vessels in one material intended to evoke the appearance of vessels regularly made in another’ (Vickers and Gill, 1994) and commonly refers to ceramic vessels emulating the forms, and perhaps the value and status, of metal vessel-forms.) I look out and re-read Carl Knappett’s excellent paper ‘Photographs, Skeuomorphs and Marionettes: some thoughts on mind, agency and object.’(Journal of Material Culture. Vol. 7(1), which contains some fascinating ideas on veracity, sympathetic magic and the tension between honesty and deception. Whereas Knappett uses Minoan Cretan metallicising ceramics to illustrate his points, I find a similarly rich source of skeuomorphic forms in the Chinese ceramics collections at the V&A.

Skeuomorphic vessels

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