Kansas City 1906 Priests of Pallas Masked Ball Souvenir Cloisonne Plate / Plaque

Regular price $75.00

This one is especially for my Kansas City friends, and carries a pretty interesting history. Plus, I think it is a pretty gorgeous thing!

The P.O.P stands for "Priests of Pallas", which was a huge, extravagant week-long event founded in 1887 by Kansas City leaders with the intent of re-defining the city as "the Athens of the West", hence the image of Athena at the bottom center of the plate.  Among many other things, the festival (which ran annually from 1887-1912 and again 1922-23) included a kick-off nighttime parade with lavish floats held in downtown Kansas City, and a separate last-day Greek-themed parade following the crowing of that year's "Athena" with her laurels. But most exciting seems to have been the Priests of Pallas masked ball, by much-coveted secret invitation only. (The invitations themselves were an event, with the Kansas City Star writing, “The invitation cards are out and surpass in artistic design and beauty anything of the kind ever seen in the west.” ) Lucky guests to the ball received a souvenir, which in 1906 was this this cloisonné plate to mark the occasion--and what a lot of work went into each of them!

I have found a few other examples of these 1906 souvenirs and each is a bit different.   The green is just radiant, as is our Athena in profile, done in a manner that reminds me of Italian pieta dura. Having lived and worked in downtown Kansas City for many years, longing to have experienced the city during its early 20th century heyday but also watching the city undergo a new renaissance of sorts, this piece feels like quite a special emblem of a place. 

7 1/8" across by 5 5/8" tall x 1/4" d. Very good condition, with some old chips to the enamel around the border on the reverse, stable. I might think it may once have been used as a calling card tray; now it would be easy to adhere a hanger to the back to hang it if desired.