Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lehmann Keramik Vase and Starfruit (Carambola)

Lehmann Vase and Starfruit
Lehmann Vase and StarfruitLehmann Vase and Starfruit

We’ve had this Lehmann vase for over a decade, the result of a random purchase at a now defunct antique mall in South Lake Union (before it went upscale). I’ve always liked the green glaze contrasted against the mat brown-black lower part. As we started researching more, we realized that information is hard to come by for this pottery maker, at least in English. Here’s what we know for sure because we can see and measure: the label reads “Lehmann Keramik Langeland Danmark” and “Lehmann” is stamped on the bottom. The vase is 4.5 inches high and the base is just shy of 3.25 inches in diameter. Other than that, the rest is just “stuff we read on the internet”. An Etsy seller stated that the body of a similar looking piece was made from volcanic clay. Really? Many sites say that similar pieces are mid-century Danish, listing 1960s to the 1970s.

In terms of the flora, we paired three carambola (Averrhoa carambola) fruits with the vase. Carambola, commonly known as starfruit - cut the fruit and look at its shape - is a tree native to South Asia. The starfruit shown here is grown by Brooks Tropicals in Florida. They describe its taste as “similar to that of a tart apple when green.” The generic name, Averrhoa, is in honor of the 12th century Arabian physician, astronomer, and philosopher Averroes (his Latinized name). The specific epithet is described (here) as deriving from the Spanish vernacular name for the tree which may itself have come from the Marathi language.

Quattrocchi gives a long (well, relatively long by the standards of that reference book) origin to the generic name. One part stood out: Averroes was the author of The Incoherence of the Incoherence, “all in defense of the philosophical study of religion against the theologians (1179 -80).”

Left: Lehmann Vase and Starfruit with Label. Right: Bottom of Lehmann Vase.
Lehmann Vase and StarfruitLehmann Vase and Starfruit

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