Manufacturer: Manufactured by Tiffany & Co. (1837–present)

Date: 1877

Geography: Made in New York, New York, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Silver

Dimensions: 8 1/8 x 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 in. (20.6 x 10.8 x 10.8 cm); 14 oz. 19 dwt. (464.5 g)

Classification: Silver

Credit Line: Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. H. O. H. Frelinghuysen Gift, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.349


Founded by Charles L. Tiffany in 1837, Tiffany & Company developed by the 1870s into a leading manufacturer of silver and jewelry, exhibiting at world's fairs, winning international competitions, and employing some of the most creative designers of the nineteenth century. The naturalistic applied fish and engraved seaweed motifs that ornament this vase, as well as their asymmetrical arrangement into a continuous wraparound scene, reflect the influence of Japanese art, which was strongly felt in America by the early 1870s. Edward C. Moore, head designer at Tiffany & Company from 1868 until his death in 1891, was a major promoter of the style. Moore's keen interest in exotic cultures is manifest in the large collection of Asian and Near Eastern objects that he bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum.

Tiffany & Company's first use of the style was in its "Japanese" flatware pattern, which was patented in 1871. The shape of this vase and the design of the die-rolled borders and bracket feet were first devised at Tiffany & Company in 1872. This type of fish motif was introduced in 1875, and a surviving drawing of this ornamentation is dated 1877. The vase originally had a more variegated or pebbled surface created through oxidation. Similar geometric borders are found on other Tiffany objects of this period.