Lately, with the increasing popularity of vintage they have become more expensive. But they are puzzling objects.
Why on earth would I own and use salt and pepper shakers in the shape of pineapples? Surely it would make more sense to make pineapple-shaped vessels to store pinapple slices for example, or at least something fruity, just for the sake of categories. Yet, at the end of the day, I would be the first to buy them.
In a way these objects mirror the aesthetic of 1950s cookbooks, so real, but at the same time so apparently fake. Interestingly, they were not invented in the 20th century, but have historical precedents in sixteenth-century France and eighteeth-century Britain, where a tea pots the shape of a cauliflower, vessels looking like asparagus and cabbage sugar pots, were popular and widespread. People collect these objects, but little has been written about them and it is difficult to understand their origin. The 18th century was a time of folkloric revival: people yearned for a simple ‘natural’ life. Perhaps these objects were a response to this yearning.
Umberto Eco, in his book, Faith in Fakes, discusses the North American obession with replicas of the real: “America, a country obsessed with realism, where, if a reconstruction is to be credible, it must be absolutely iconic, a perfect likeness, a real copy of the reality being represented.”
I would place 1950s vegetable ceramics into the category of Faith in Fakes: a ceramic pinapple, is not only a replica of this monumental fruit, it is better.
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