Small Pleasures, Antiques & Collectibles

Victorian Glass "tear catcher," or "weeping bottle"

Victorian Glass "tear catcher," or "weeping bottle"

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Decorative Art: Glass: American: Pre 1920: Item # 761811
Small Pleasures, Antiques Collectibles
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Florida 33625-1630

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These glass tear catchers or weeping bottles were for saving tears of grief. Such blown glass receptacles were placed on dressing tables, and on the first anniversary of the death, the tears were poured over the grave. This bottle is 7 3/8" long by 9/16" in diameter.

Much of the paint design is worn off.

These bottles have sold in the past for upwards of $325.00 for clear ones.

Weeping bottles are occasionally seen in the hands of Grecian-dressed mourners on monuments in New England cemetaries, particularly that of Green-Wood in New York, where a life size mourner is depicted holding such a bottle up to her eye to save her tears. The concept is based on a verse from Psalm 56:8, where David returns from losing a battle and cries out to God. Hast Thou not saved by tears in Thy bottle? The idea of God saving mourners' tears of grief appealed to Victorian religious beliefs, and thus women would hold these receptacles up to their eyes, saving their tears, and keeping the container on their dressing table. Some traditional accounts hold that the weeping bottles would then be emptied over the grave on the first anniversary of their death.