Czech Glass and Bohemian Glass
The Czech Republic, formerly Czechoslovakia, was once the realm of the Bohemian Kingdom. Since the late 9th century the region was often in a state of war, changing its rulers and borders many times. The modern-day Czech Republic is bordered by Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. Glass from the Czech Republic and surrounding countries is referred to as Czech glass or Bohemian glass. The term Bohemian glass describes glass from areas which were within the former Bohemian Kingdom, but this includes major portions of the surrounding countries that were within Czech borders at one time or another. The Czech state was known in English as Bohemia until the early 20th century.
Anointed by history as the King of Glass, Ludwig Moser erected his first glassworks in Karlsbad in 1857. Karlsbad lies within Germany today, but was ruled by Austria at the time. Moser’s exceptional handcrafted, externally decorated glassware set tone for the Bohemian style décor we know today. On the other hand, Czech glass style is known for more for it’s colorless leaded glass of exceptional quality with applied glass on glass decor and intricate etchings. Mid-century modern (1940’s to late 1960’s) Czech glass is admired for it’s free form, thick-walled, colorful creations.
During the mid-19th century the Bohemianism movement, made up of poor artists with counter-culture living styles, bloomed in major European cities. The rumor was these Bohemian wanderers came into Paris, London, etc. from uninhabitable war torn regions. It is possible that many of the free-loving, penniless artists were actually from the former Czechoslovakia.
The Bohemian artists of the 19th century created a new genre of Bohemian glass. They did not produce glass in the Czech region, but they did produce it in the Czech style. So glass in the style of Moser from 19th century Paris is also considered Bohemian.
The region of the Czech Republic, and surrounding areas continues to produce and export glass today.
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