What’s So Bohemian About a Bohemian Glass Vase?

When talking about a bohemian glass vase one refers to a vase made of a special kind of decorative glass called Bohemian glass or Bohemia crystal.

It carries the name because it comes from what used to be known as of Bohemia and Silesia, now being regions part of the modern-day state of the Czech Republic.

A vase.
A vase. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The two regions have been known to work with glass since at least the 13th century, excavations having uncovered glass-making sites dating to about 1250 located in the Lusatian Mountains, which are located in Northern Bohemia.

The glass from this region was so special that it took with it the name of the region because local glass-workers found that potash combined with chalk created a clear and colourless glass that was more stable than the glass coming from Italy. These characteristics made the glass from this region to distinguish itself and thus people started referring to it as Bohemian crystal.

The increased stability of Bohemian glass means that it can be cut with a wheel and as such the region turned out lots of expert craftsmen capable of artfully working the material.

By the middle of the 19th century the region was looking into exporting their trade and mass-producing coloured glass all over the world. Pairs of Bohemian glass vases were made either in a single colour of opaque glass or in two-colour cased glass; such a bohemian glass vase was decorated with thickly enamelled flower subjects that were painted, while others were decorated with coloured lithographic prints copying famous paintings.

Back then they were not considered high art, instead they were inexpensive decorative objects which were mail ordered throughout Europe and America.

Nowadays the glass is even in more demand than it has ever been and thankfully the Internet has allowed many artists the possibility to practice and improve their craft by making it possible for them to sell their wares.

You can use a bohemian glass vase either for decorative purposes by itself or in combination with other object, including flowers, natural or artificial, the only limit to their applications is that of one’s imagination.