Ships, cats, et al. in bottles


So the only other thing I'd like to add to Miss Cellania's Weird Week-in-Review is actually from a few weeks back, but still pertinent--the New Jersey kitten who was found with its head stuck inside a bottle. Which was, with the pragmatic assistance of Crisco, safely removed. But the idea of something--almost anything--inside a bottle is practically always riveting. SD Jones runs a great folk art site that boasts an impressive index of artwork in bottles, including miniature meat markets (pictured!), canons (pictured!) crucifixes, tools, and wishing wells. Ships may enjoy more popularity as objects inserted into bottles, but they were by no means the first.

The SIB (Ships in Bottles) predecessor was the "patience bottle," which usually depicted Christian tableaux, or mining and smelting scenes. Andreas Lier explains the advent of the first SIB, dated in the late 18th century:

Those ship models were mostly intended as presents for the sweetheart or the family. Sometimes they have also been used to settle debts. As many sailors had been Christians one or the other may have seen "patience bottles" before. One of the sailers had possibly then decided to give an especially valuable present to his sweetheart and built the first SIB.

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