Bohemian Plates

Bohemian Plates - Decorative Bohemian and Silesian Glass

Bohemian glass (or crystal) is a decorative glass which has been made in Bohemia and Silesia since the 13th century. Archaeological excavations of glass manufacturing sites date such manufacture back to around 1250 in the Lusatian Mountains of Northern Bohemia and the most noteworthy sites include Skalice (Langenau), Kamenicky Senov (Steinschönau) and Novy Bor (Haida). Today both Novy Bor and Kamenicky Senov have glass museums with many items on display dating after about 1600.

Bohemia is particularly noted for its manufacture of glass in the high Baroque style between 1685 and 1750. In the 17th century, Caspar Lehmann, who was employed as gem cutter to Emperor Rudolf II in Prague, adapted the technique of gem engraving for use on glass with both copper and bronze wheels.

A pair of matching Bohemian plates

A beautiful pair of matching Bohemian glass plates formed from clear glass cased with white milk glass and bearing a central cut star pattern. Both plates are wonderfully decorated with gorgeous flowers and bear gilt floral patterns and gilt accenting throughout.

The History of Bohemia

Bohemia, and more specifically the Kingdom of Bohemia, if normally used to refer to Czech territory including both Moravia and Czech Silesia. More accurately however Bohemia encompasses the western lands of today's Czech Republic, including its capital city of Prague, but does not extend to Moravia and Czech Silesia.

Today Bohemia is home to just over 60 percent of the Czech Republic's population of some 10 million people. Bohemia is bordered by Germany to its west, Poland to its north-east, Moravia to its east and Austria to its south.

Following the First World War Czechoslovakia was formed as a liberal democratic republic with Bohemia at its core and including Moravia, Austrian Silesia, Upper Hungary (modern day Slovakia) and Carpathian Ruthenia. This was however a less than successful alliance and considerable problems arose between the Czech majority and the minorities of native Germans and Hungarians.

In the uneasy days prior to the Second World War, Nazi Germany, France, Britain, and Italy signed an agreement in 1938 known as the Munich Agreement (or Munich Pact) which effectively handed the Sudetenland (areas along the Czech border inhabited largely by native Germans) to Nazi Germany. This was followed in 1939 with the annexation of the remnants of Bohemia and Moravia to Nazi Germany with the Slovak lands becoming a separate republic which was in effect a puppet state under the control of Nazi Germany. Throughout the years of the war Bohemia and Moravia (minus the previously ceded Sudatenland) became the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and any opposition to the German occupation was dealt with both swiftly and brutally with the execution of many Czech patriots.

Czechoslovakia was re-established following the Second World War and the majority of those Germans within its borders were forcibly removed from the country by the newly re-established Czechoslovak central government using the provisions of the Potsdam agreement. In 1946 the Communist Party won the elections and two years later ousted the remaining democrats in a coup d'état as a pre-cursor to establishing a pro-Soviet authoritarian state.

Czechoslovakia (know as the Czechoslovak Socialistic Republic after 1960) became a satellite of the Soviet Union, although moves were made by the Czechoslovak Communist Party to democratize itself until this was abruptly halted in 1968 by an invasion of 'brother' armies from the Warsaw Pact in what has become known as the "Prague Spring". In 1989 Pope John Paul II canonized Agnes of Bohemia as the first saint in a central European country and started what is now referred to as the "Velvet Revolution" leading to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993 and the formation of the new Czech Republic.

Today Bohemia continues to exist and the 1992 Czech constitution makes reference to the citizens of the Czech Republic in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia and goes on to proclaim the continued existence of the Statehood of the Bohemian Crown.