Century Vase

Maker: Karl L. H. Müller (ca. 1820–1887)

Date: 1877

Geography: Made in Brooklyn, New York, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Porcelain

Dimensions: 12 3/4 x 10 1/4 in. (32.4 x 26 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Friends of the American Wing Fund, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.12


The sculptor Karl Müller designed a number of works for the Union Porcelain Works display at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Among his most notable were a pair of large Century vases, each covered with a profusion of historical scenes and novel combinations of patriotic motifs in relief. Identical in form and relief decoration to the Century vases, this vase is about ten inches smaller and is one of about twelve known in this size. North American bison heads serve as handles; a profile portrait of George Washington embellishes each side; and each of the six biscuit-relief panels around the base depicts a different scene from American history. It is unique in being the sole version that bears the designer's signature. The museum owns a pair of small Centennial vases (69.194.1,2) and a large-size undecorated example.