Birdcage with fishbowl

Unknownearly 19th century

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Square wooden box-type cage (a) cut on each side with fan-shaped opening inset with metal wires; quarter columns at corners; bun feet; gallery along top, decorated with circular cut-outs and ball finials at corners; stamped brass (?) decorations at fan-shapes and capitals and bases of columns. On top of box, cradled in large circular hole with flange, is a globular fishbowl (b) with circular neck and central hollow globe, all formed from single wall (allowing bird entry/egress from and to wooden cage below). Base of bowl decorated with polychrome enamel band of landscape / water scenes showing European men hunting birds or fishing (retrieving birds?) from boats / sailing ships at sea (one flying two red, white and blue Dutch flags), and a rocky island with a tall castle-like building on top; floral decoration just below neck, gilded foliate decoration on neck and band at mouth.

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  • Title: Birdcage with fishbowl
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: early 19th century
  • Exhibitions: "Yinka Shonibare Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection" Cooper-Hewitt, Collections Gallery, 10/7/05-9/24/06
  • Dimensions: H x W x D (a & b): 62.2 x 31.8 x 31.8 cm (24 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.)
  • Type: Birdcage with fishbowl
  • Rights: Gift of Channing Hare
  • Medium: Wood, glass, gilded brass, metal wire