Century Vase

Designer: Designed by Karl L. H. Müller (ca. 1820–1887)

Manufacturer: Union Porcelain Works (1863–ca. 1922)

Date: 1876

Geography: Made in Brooklyn, New York, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Porcelain

Dimensions: Overall: H. 22 1/4 in. (56.5 cm); Diam. 17 3/8 in. (44.1 cm)
Lip: Diam. 13 1/8 in. (33.3 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Scheider Gift, 1996

Accession Number: 1996.95


The “Century Vase” is one of several large works designed by the German sculptor Karl L. H. Müller for the Union Porcelain Works booth at the Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia in 1876. It was originally intended to be displayed on a porcelain pedestal, also designed by Müller. George Washington’s profile is featured on the front and back of the vase, flanked by bison-head handles. Six relief panels portraying scenes from American history, including the Boston Tea Party and William Penn’s treaty with the Lenni Lenape, encircle the base. The unfinished vase lacks the painted scenes of American industrial progress found on two of the other large-scale other examples.