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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Today's Word: BOCAGE

The word "Bocage" derives from the French "bosc," meaning "wood." In antiques, bocage is the name for the mass of leafy and flowery shrubs or branches which were popular decorative additions to 18th century porcelain figures.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today's Word: NECESSAIRE

One doesn't have to be Einstein to figure out that "Necessaire" is somehow related to the word "necessary." A Necessaire (French) is a small case that contains all the tools NECESSARY to get a job done. For instance, a sewing necessaire would contain the basic tools for mending something, and a writing necessaire would have a pencil/pen, paper, and often other little accessories.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Today's Word: MEERSCHAUM

From the German for "sea foam," Meerschaum is a soft white mineral found mainly in Turkey, but also in lesser quantities in France, Spain, Morocco, and in some U.S. states. Used mainly for making smoking pipes and cigarette holders (in Vienna and other European manufacturing centers), it was often intricately carved, with figural heads forming the bowl of the pipe. It was also used, to a much lesser extent for carving decorative figurines. In the 1970s, Turkey banned the export of Meerschaum, and today, Meerschaum products not made in Turkey are usually made of pressed Meerschaum and are of inferior quality. With use, Meerschaum pipes gradually change color, and turn yellow, orange, or a reddish brown.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Today's Word: ANIMALIERS

The Animaliers (Les Animaliers) is the name bestowed upon the mid-19th century group of French sculptors who specialized in creating naturalistic sculptures of animals in bronze. Leader of the school was Antoine-Louis Barye, and one of the most well-known among the Animaliers was Pierre-Jules Mene.