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Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[Pers. ‛Ashqābād; formerly Ashkhabad Askhabad, Poltoratsk]

Capital city of Turkmenistan. Lying in an oasis south of the Karakum Desert, the city was founded in 1881 on the site of a mountain village (Rus. aul). Linked by rail with the Caspian coast in 1885, it developed rapidly as the center of the Transcaspian region at the turn of the 20th century and became the capital of the Turkmen republic in 1924. It suffered greatly from earthquakes in 1893, 1895 and 1929; following complete destruction by the earthquake of 6 October 1948, the city was rebuilt during the 1950s and 1960s.

Saparmurat Niyazov (generally referred to as Turkmenbashi, or leader of the Turkmen), president from 1985 to 2006, used the revenues from huge gas reserves to lavishly embellish the city with grandiose monuments of gleaming white marble and gold. Civic structures include not only the palace, government offices and an exhibition center, but also the Arch of Neutrality, a large tripod in front of which stands a gold statue of Turkmenbashi that rotates to face the sun. Religious structures include the Azadi Mosque, which resembles the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, and the Kipchak Mosque, said to be the largest in Central Asia. The National Museum of History (...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Australian pottery founded in 1858 by a Scot, George Guthrie (1808–1909), in the town of Bendigo, Victoria. The factory made household wares, including acid bottles, bricks, clay pipes, roof tiles and tableware. During World War I it also made portrait jugs of military commanders, and in the 1930s it made agate-ware vases that were marketed as Waverly ware. The pottery is still active, but since ...

Article

Bizen  

Richard L. Wilson

Japanese centre of ceramics production. High-fired ceramic wares were manufactured from the end of the 12th century in and around the village of Inbe, Bizen Province (now Okayama Prefect.). This region had been a centre for manufacturing Sue-style stonewares and Haji-style earthenwares from the 6th century ad (see Japan, §IX, 2, (ii), (a)). At the end of the Heian period (794–1185) the potters moved from the old Sue-ware sites around Osafune village to Inbe, just to the north. In response to increased agricultural development, the new kilns manufactured kitchen mortars (suribachi), narrow-necked jars (tsubo) and wide-necked jars (kame). During the 13th century the wares show less of the grey-black surfaces typical of the old Sue tradition and more of the purple-reddish colour characteristic of Bizen. In the 14th century Bizen-ware production sites shifted from the higher slopes to the foot of the mountains. Kilns expanded in capacity, ranging up to 40 m in length. Vast quantities of Bizen wares, particularly kitchen mortars, were exported via the Inland Sea to Kyushu, Shikoku and numerous points in western Honshu, establishing Bizen as the pre-eminent ceramics centre in western Japan. By the 15th century the Bizen repertory had expanded to include agricultural wares in graded sizes; wares then featured combed decoration and such functional additions as lugs and pouring spouts. Plastic–forming was assisted by the introduction of a fusible clay found 2–4 m under paddy-fields. This clay, which fires to an almost metallic hardness, is still in use today....

Article

Cornish  

Keith N. Morgan

American town and former artists’ colony in the state of New Hampshire. Situated on a line of hills near the eastern bank of the Connecticut River c. 160 km north-west of Boston, Cornish looks across to Windsor, VT, and Mt Ascutney. It was settled in 1763 as an agrarian community, but its population was rapidly reduced during the migration to the cities in the second half of the 19th century. From 1885 until around the time of World War I, Cornish was the summer home of a group of influential sculptors, painters, architects, gardeners, and writers. For this coherent group, the Cornish hills symbolized an ideal natural environment that reflected the classical images so important in their work. The sculptor who first spent a summer in Cornish in 1885, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, bought his summer residence there in 1891, and he was soon followed by the painters Henry Oliver Walker (...

Article

Oscar P. Fitzgerald

American city in western Michigan, noted for its furniture production. Its situation at the rapids of the Grand River provided ease of river transportation and proximity to timber from Michigan’s great pine and hardwood forests. The furniture industry began in Grand Rapids when the city’s first cabinetmaker, William ‘Deacon’ Haldane (1807–98), established a shop there in 1836. By 1851 E. M. Ball of Powers & Ball was boasting that he could toss ‘whole trees into the hopper and grind out chairs ready for use’ to fill an order for 10,000 chairs in Chicago (Ransom, p. 5). In the 1870s Grand Rapids became a major factor in the American furniture market. Such companies as Berkey & Gay, Widdicomb, Phoenix and Nelson-Matter built large factories and hired Dutch and other European immigrants to operate them. While most of these manufacturers produced complete lines of bedroom, parlour and dining-room suites, some, like the ...

Article

Brian Austen

English centre of furniture production. The town is situated in Buckinghamshire near the Chiltern Hills, where there is a plentiful supply of timber, particularly beech. The ‘Windsor’ chair, with which High Wycombe is particularly associated, was available in the London market c. 1720, and London chairmakers drew from the High Wycombe area billets of beech and probably such turned components as legs and stretchers. Turners, known as ‘bodgers’, would fell timber and directly convert it on simple pole lathes. Complete chairs were probably being manufactured in the High Wycombe area by the mid-18th century. Furniture workshops first appeared in the town after 1750, using turned components produced by the ‘bodgers’, making other parts such as the seat and assembling complete chairs for wholesale or retail sale. Four makers were listed in a directory of 1784, three being members of the Treacher family, and in the 1790s William Treacher was offering ‘Windsor, dyed and fancy chairs’. Another early maker was ...

Article

English city and centre of metalwork production. From the 12th century blacksmiths, arrowsmiths and cutlers were active in the locality of Sheffield. Although there are references from the Middle Ages to the manufacture of knives, the cutlery trade did not become significant until the 16th century, when the harnessing of water power and the use of local sources of raw materials helped to establish Sheffield as a leading centre of production. The Earls of Shrewsbury kept firm control over the cutlery trades that operated under the jurisdiction of the manorial court. Most businesses were family enterprises, and apprentices were at times recruited from the minor landed gentry, clergy and yeomen. The numerous processes involved in the manufacture of cutlery and the increasing range of edge-tool wares in the 16th and 17th centuries led to the growth of a network of self-employed ‘little mesters’, specializing in one area of production. Changes in the regulation of the trade were made in ...

Article

St Ives  

Adrian Lewis

English coastal town in Cornwall and an artistic centre in the late 19th century and the 20th. A gallery and artists’ club had been established in St Ives by the late 1880s, paralleling the establishment of Newlyn, another Cornish coastal town, as an art colony. Its initial attractions seem to have resided as much in establishing a cultural distance from London and other urban centres, confirmed by the preference among artists in St Ives for Cornish landscape and genre subjects, as in the potential of the tourist trade. In 1927 the St Ives Society of Artists was established with its own sales gallery; members also submitted work annually to the Royal Academy in London. Landscapes and seascapes predominated in the work of Borlase Smart (1881–1947), Julius Olsson (1864–1942) and John Park (1880–1962).

As with the Parisian avant-garde’s depiction of late 19th-century Brittany as remote from civilization, the myth of St Ives became entwined with the British assimilation of modernist values, such as simplicity of life style, innocence or naivety of vision and the integrity of the handmade. For example, ...

Article

Tanba  

Richard L. Wilson

Centre of Japanese ceramics production based in and around Tachikui and Kamaya villages (Hyōgo Prefect.). Together with Bizen, Shigaraki, Echizen, Seto and Tokoname, Tanba is one of the few Japanese kiln centres that has been active from the 12th century to the present day. The origins of Tanba ware are not perfectly understood, but recent excavations of the Sanbontōge kiln (late 12th century–early 13th), thought to be the earliest Tanba kiln, suggest that the Echizen (Fukui Prefect.) and possibly the Tokoname (Aichi Prefect.) kilns played a central role in the ware’s development. The principal wares, which reflect improvements in Japanese agricultural production in the 12th century, include a limited number of kitchen mortars (suribachi), and greater quantities of wide-mouthed jars (kame) and narrow-mouthed jars (tsubo). Ten kiln sites, spanning a period from the 12th to the 16th centuries, have been identified, and it is thought that these were single-chamber tunnel kilns (...

Article

Mairead Dunlevy

Irish city and centre of glass production. The earliest Waterford glass factory was established in Gurteens, near Waterford, during the 1720s, and production included lead-glass drinking vessels with pedestal stems, garden glasses, vials, bottles and other green glassware. The factory was closed about 1739.

In 1783 the Waterford Glass House was established by the merchants George Penrose and William Penrose, who employed John Hill and other glassmakers from Stourbridge, England. In 1799 the factory was taken over by three partners, James Ramsey (d c. 1810), Jonathan Gatchell (1752–1823) and Ambrose Barcroft, who in 1802 extended the works and installed new machinery. In 1823 George Gatchell became manager, and the works remained in the family until it closed. The factory produced cut, engraved and moulded glass of excellent quality, and c. 1832 steam power was installed in the factory, which allowed an increase in production.

The outstanding qualities of Waterford glass are its clarity and the precise cutting. The typical early Waterford decanter is barrel-shaped, has three or four neck rings and a wide, flat, pouring lip. Stoppers of Waterford production are almost invariably mushroom-shaped with a rounded knop below the stopper neck. From the cut patterns on marked Waterford decanters it would seem that popular designs included the pillar and arch embellished with fine diamonds. The numerous drawings of Waterford designs (Dublin, N. Mus.) made between ...

Article

Yixing  

Rose Kerr

Town in Jiangsu Province, China, situated c. 5 km west of Lake Tai, famous during the Qing period (1644–1911) and the 20th century for its high-quality teawares made of red stoneware. Most of the kilns lie to the south of Yixing in the village of Dingshuzhen.

It has been tentatively established that the earliest purplish-red Yixing stonewares were produced as early as the Song period (960–1279); examples include two pear-shaped vessels with dark purplish stoneware body and partial olive-brown glaze, found in a disused well in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, in 1961 (see Lo, p. 15). Excavations in that area have revealed kilns as well as sherds of coarse red stoneware, including many fragments of teaware. The production of Yixing wares is first well documented for the mid-16th century (e.g. teapot from the tomb of the court official Wu Jing (d 1533); Nanjing, Jiangsu Prov. Mus.). It was at this time that the names of individual potters were first recorded. They adopted the practice for which Yixing became famous, that of marking their wares with their own signatures (e.g. hexagonal red stoneware teapot signed by ...