What is a Lithophane?
Lithophanes are three-dimensional translucent porcelain plaques which when backlit reveal detailed magical images. First created in Europe in the 1820s, the largest collection of this 19th century art form in the world is now on view at the Blair Museum of Lithophanes.
Lithophane is a term derived from the Greek litho meaning stone and phainen meaning to cause to appear. This Greek derivation has proven confusing to people who might know some basic Greek, but do not know that lithophanes have nothing to do with stone or a stone product, but are made of porcelain.
Scroll over the image to see it lit from behind!
Lithophane, Der neue Schuler (The New Student), unlit and lit, German, 19th century, PPM 624, Blair Museum acc. no. 1003, 6” x 7.5”. Courtesy of the Blair Museum of Lithophanes