Rei Inexplicabila: Inexplicable Things
Bizarre Decoration- Top Shelf
Did early potters make abstract art? Today we think of abstraction as a modern concept, but the brightly colored biomorphic shapes on these seventeenth and eighteenth-century ceramics resemble paintings from the 1950s. The potters may have been trying to visually reduce the world around them into patterns of color and shape. On the other hand, some scholars suggest that this decoration may have been inspired by illustrations of microscopic organisms published in scientifi c treatises. Likewise, the plates on the right were called “Tortoiseshell wares” inspired by the highly-prized material studied and harvested by naturalists in the Caribbean.
Strange Smalls - Middle Shelf
The allure of miniatures has captivated collectors for hundreds of years. Some of the pieces in this case were actually used, including the apothecary ointment pots, the teapot, and the miniature blue fl ower pot. The shoe
was a symbol of intimacy probably given from one lover to another. Even the ceramic “books” functioned as a handwarmer when fi lled with hot water. Still unclear is the original purpose of the dovecote and the ceramic chair.
Mystery Bottle - Lower Shelf