Guerlain container: Paris, late-19th century

This small pottery container by Guerlain, the French perfume house now owned by LVMH, was given to me by a friend who found it during excavations on the Bowery in New York.  In the 19th century, the Bowery was an entertainment district and then a rough skid row of bars and flophouses; today, it is probably the least-protected historic street in New York.  Used on city planning maps as the border of several preservation zones, the Bowery itself is not included in any and is being substantially rebuilt with large-scale buildings.  My friend and others would enter the backyards of the surviving older buildings and dig up the old outhouse which, in addition to being the toilet, was where people would throw away or lose unwanted things: embryos, bottles, bones.


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