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Cemetery vases, lily shape

Object Details

See more items in
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Date
ca. 1900
Period
Art Nouveau (1890-1910)
Accession number
1979.013.001-1979.013.002
Description
Cast-iron cemetery vases with lily shape. Both vases consist of eight fluted panels that end in scalloped edges and have one side flared higher than the other. Two stakes protrude from the base, near the edge with shorter flares. The tips of the stakes are cut at an angle. The vases have the remnants of olive-green paint, with possible indications of lighter green paint underneath.
Label Text
The popularity of visiting the cemetery and decorating loved one’s graves with flowers in Victorian times inspired the invention of the cemetery vase in the 1890s. A vast improvement over the bottles and tin cans that had been used for holding flowers previously. The first cemetery vases were made of glass, but metal vases treated with weather-resistant paint soon surpassed them because of they were durable and inexpensive. Attached to the bottom of these conical vases was a long metal spike that could be easily inserted into the ground, which kept the vase securely in place and upright. Iron-reservoir cemetery vases were sold by florists and some cemeteries, and they were the most popular container for Memorial Day flowers from 1897 to 1919. They were widely used in cemeteries, except during World War I and II when Uncle Sam needed the metal for the war effort. During these hiatuses, tomato cans with a hole drilled in the bottom through which a wire was inserted to secure the vase in the ground were used instead.
Credit Line
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Topic
bouquet holders
cast iron
vases
cemeteries
commemoratives
flowers (plants)
funerals
Medium
Cast iron, paint
Dimensions
Overall: 14 1/8 × 4 1/2 in. (35.9 × 11.4 cm)
Vase: 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm)
Style
Art Nouveau
Data Source
Smithsonian Gardens
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Type
Cemetery vases
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/aq4507aae71-4285-4c21-bbc9-7173df82d19c
Record ID
hac_1979.013.001-1979.013.002
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