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Bottle 551 - Men-of-War Diorama
Date Added: 19 January 2008

This is a scene of two 17th Century French Men-of-War ships sailing past an island seen off in the background. The lead ship has a Bowsprit mast, with Spritsail topmast, Foremast, Main mast, Mizzen mast, and Bonaventure mizzen mast. Each mast has "tops" adding to the realism. There are 12 sails with stitches drawn on the sails for added detail and realism. Each mast has a blue, white, and red French flag flying and there is a long red, white, and blue banner flying from the Bonaventure mizzen yard. The hull is natural wood color and has Wales extending from the frames. There are 18 guns shown extending from gun ports with red gun port lids extending from the sides of the hull and 2 additional guns with ports and lids coming from the stern of the ships. The 2nd ship has 3 masts (does not have the Bonaventure mizzen mast) and 10 sails with 14 guns extending from gun ports with red gun port lids. This ship also has 2 guns, gun ports and lids from the stern of the ship. Each ship has stern and quarter galleries with wonderful detail brought out with gold and blue colors. There are two detailed and decorative ship's lanterns also in gold and blue on the stern of each ship. Both ships have 3 decks with stairs, hatches, railings and more. There is even a very small rudder on each of the ships. The ships are wonderfully rigged with both standing and running rigging. There appears to be careful attention to accuracy and detail in the rigging rarely found in these small models. On there island is some vegetation resembling trees and shrubs. There is a large castle constructed so that is appears to be made of stone. There are two towers connected by a long stone wall. On top of one tower is a French flag. The castle is made with vegetation growing up the towers and wall adding great appearance and realism to the castle and scene. This remarkable model is bottled in a very old 3 liter light green tinted Asbach bottle with a seam line on the top and one on the bottom (as the ships set in the bottle) and a concave or inverted bottom. The bottle is sealed with a cork painted red and there is red paint covering extending approximately 2 3/4" up the neck. About the tower: Mäuseturm und Binger Loch (Mouse Tower and the Bingen hole [bottle neck in the shipping lane]) The small island in front of Bingen had a small fortress on it in the days of the Romans, but which then disappeared. Hatto II, archbishop of Mainz since 968, and thus Lord of Bingen, made the tower on there island famous throughout the world. The population suffered under Hatto's rule. The various versions of the saga all agree that the Mouse Tower bishop was imprisoned in he tower from 969 to 970, where he was attacked by thousands of mice and died. In the 14th century, the tower served as the watchtower for the customs collection castle, Ehrenfels. After that the tower was employed until 1975 as a signal tower to safeguard the passage through the then so dangerous Binger Loch. The cliffs remaining from the huge quartz barrier, which used to link both sides of the river, made the shipping channel extremely narrow for centuries. Only experienced pilots could guide ships through the small, shallow channel. It was not until 1974 that most of this obstacle was removed, making shipping the Rhine River much safer.
Type: Men-of-War Diorama   Maker's Name: Rüsselsheim, Gustav Schnelle
Category: Sailing Ships   Made Where: Maintal, Germany
Bottle Size: 19 1/2" x 4 1/4"   Year Made: 1950's
Bottle Type: 3 liter Asbach  

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