This rare adn exceptional pressed Tiffany Glass Tile of square form, marked by swirls of deeply saturated blue glass with rich surface iridescence, features a raised motif inspired by the form of a tsuba. This piece is a synthesis of the innovative glass pioneered by Tiffany Studios and the inspiration gleaned from antiquity by Louis Comfort Tiffany in his “quest of beauty.”
At the turn of the twentieth century, designers and artists sought to recreate or reinterpret some of the finest examples of craftsmanship from the ancient world, including works from Rome, Greece and the “Far East.” The Decorative Arts of Japan became a particular fascination for many artists after the country began to trade with the West in the mid-1850s.
Louis Comfort Tiffany was no exception; he was an avid collector of Japanese lacquerware, ceramics and metalwork, and had a large collection of tsube. Tsube, the highly decorative sword guards used by the Samurai, were rounded discs of metal which were mounted below the hilt of a sword to protect the hand of the sword holder; the more elaborate the design, the higher the status of the wearer. Tiffany was an early collector of tsube; he first acquired a group in June 1882 from Lockwood de Forest, who purchased a group of 2,500 tsube for their design partnership while on a buying trip to Paris. De Forest sold the remainder to Tiffany in the fall of 1883. Tiffany’s representative in Europe, Siegfried Bing, also retailed these objects, and it is possible Tiffany acquired more tsube from his shop or in an 1894 auction held by Bing in New York.
Tiffany Studios produced Favrile Glass Tiles in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and utilized them to ornament everything from large scale architectural commissions to table lamps and delicate decorative objects. Hundreds of unused Tiffany Glass tiles like this one were sold off en masse when the company permanently closed in the early 1930s following the death of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Length: 4 inches (10.2 cm)
Width: 4 inches (10.2 cm)