It's no secret that the human history is inextricably linked to the sea. Since the most ancient times, people, were overcoming their fear, travelling across the seas and oceans. In the eternal search for the new lands and new life they were led by an irresistible sense of adventure.
Today we are still amazed, reading stories about the great geographical discoveries, the brave sailors and pirates. What kind of person you must be, what courage you need to go into a raging ocean by the little ship, which can be so easily crashed by the unpredictable nature. And, of course, such a voyage is not comparable to a journey in a cozy cabin of a modern super-liner.
Not much people know that the construction of models of ships - is a very ancient art. Even at the sites of primitive man, archaeologists are finding model of primitive boats - children's toys. Models of ships also had the religious significance - people were putting those ships into the graves, hoping to ease the transition of the deceased to another world. The beautiful golden and silver models of ships were found in Mesopotamia and at the Valley of the Kings.
Thus, the history of building ships has more than one thousand years.
And what about the ships in the bottles? It is believed that this art originated in Europe in the XVII - XVIII centuries. At this exactly time there were made the first models of the ships in bottles, that are now stored in several museums in Europe. Sailors, while they were away from the sea, often had to "look into the bottle." One of them, apparently, came up with the wonderful idea - to put a model of the ship inside.
Could the ships in bottles appear before the time, that was mentioned above? Until the most recent days, many researchers believed that it was not possible, citing the inability of the ancient glassblowers to make their bottles so transparent, so you can easily see their contents. It is hard to imagine that anyone would like to make the ship in an opaque bottle.
However, there is the most recent data to prove the opposite. On some paintings made by old masters it is possible to see the clear goblets and vessels made of glass. What is it - a fantasy of an artist, or the true reflection of reality? Archaeologists are increasingly finding the transparent pieces of glass products, whose age is more than one thousand years. In the ancient times, glass products were very expensive and completely inaccessible to the ordinary common people. Still we can not completely exclude the possibility that the glass bottle could get to the hands of a talented master who was capable to build a model of a ship inside.
It should be noted that in addition to the models of the ships, skilled craftsmen were creating inside their bottles some religious scenes, scenes of life, different mechanisms, and much, much more. Perhaps this kind of art emerged even before the art of building ships in bottles. However, the term "ships in bottles" should include everything that a person can build in the bottle, through the narrow bottle's neck.
Generally, models in the bottles are divided into three main types:
Ships in bottles. In the bottle there was placed exactly a model of the ship. The focus in these models, perhaps will be on a more accurate reconstruction of the ship's parts. Model inside the bottle can be fixed on a special stand or "float" on the sea surface, skillfully made by the talented craftsman.
Dioramas. Dioramas are depicting the scenes from life (often the sea life). This may be a seaport with a large city on the shore and the ships at the anchors, a sea battle, sinking ship, and many other things.
Curiosities. This group is including everything, that is made after the free imagination of the master. This could be scenes from the biblical life, various mills, machinery, human figures, cars, planes - in general all that can not be called with the word "ship".
Despite the rapid development of technology, building ship models in the bottles is, like many years ago, a purely manual work. To be successful this kind of work requires tremendous patience and a great skills. And like many years ago, the models of the ships are still surprising the audience. That is why many people with a great passion are getting involved the construction of ships in bottles, using modern materials and tirelessly inventing the new incredible secrets of constructing their amazing masterpieces.
In many countries there are created the associations of people who are fond of collecting ships models in the bottles. There are such an associations in England, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Japan, USA, France and elsewhere. There is even a "European Association of Ships in the Bottles", that brings together modelers from around the world. These organizations are publishing magazines, organizing exhibitions and conferences, in general, they do not let the modelers and models collectors to be bored.
Also there are many museums, where the ship models in the bottles are widely presented among the other items.