Learn about and understand the items, manufacturers, designers and periods as well as the specialist terms used in describing antiques and collectables. Either click one of the letters below to list the items beginning with that letter, or click on a category on the left side of the screen to list the items under that category.

Kakiemon Porcelain

A Meissen box and cover, circa 1740, the octagonal cover and box decorated in Kakiemon colours.

Kakiemon porcelain was made from the 16th to the 19th century in the Arita area of Japan, and is generally agreed to include some of the finest porcelain made in Japan. It is decorated with polychrome enamels over glaze, the most popular colours being underglaze blue and enamels of green, blue, turquoise yellow and persimmon red.

The body of a Kakiemon object is pure white porcelain while the enamel overglaze motifs incorporate Japanese and Chinese designs, but leave much of the white surface unpainted. The name derives from the family of potters who are associated with this style of pottery.

Early Kakiemon porcelain was unmarked, and marks on later objects were variable and unreliable.

Kakiemon porcelain was first imported into Europe by the Dutch at the end of the 17th century, and became extremely popular, resulting in Kakiemon-style imitations being produced by European potteries including Bow, Chelsea and Worcester in England, Mennery, Samson and St. Cloud in France, Delft in Holland and Meissen in Germany.

It's rare for an original Kakiemon object to come onto the market, and almost all sold nowadays is of European origin, and described as Kakiemon pattern or Kakiemon style.

Kalmar Ceramics

Kalmar Ceramics were produced by migrants Julius and Irene Kalmar of Hungary from the early 1950's to mid 1960's. Their first factory was at Lakemba, NSW and they later moved to Punchbowl. Kalmar Ceramics became Australian Art & Ceramic Products, abbreviated to AACP.

Kammer & Reinhardt

A Kammer & Reinhardt/Simon & Halbig companion character doll, with oily bisque head, fixed blue glass eyes , open mouth with four upper teeth, pierced ears, long chestnut wig on a fully jointed composition child's body.

The Kammer & Reinhardt doll company was formed in 1886 in Waltershausen, Thuringia, Germany by doll-maker Ernst Kämmer and businessman Franz Reinhardt.

The early Kammer & Reinhardt dolls were made of wax, and while Kammer & Reinhardt bisque doll heads and bodies were designed by by the company, most of the heads were manufactured by another German doll manufacturer, Simon & Halbig. They also purchased bisque heads from the porcelain factories of Kling and Schuetzmeister & Quendt.

From 1886 to 1909 they made dolls with a bisque head on a composition ball jointed body or kid, many with an open mouth with teeth, but after 1909 they diversified into other types of dolls including bisque, composition or celluloid heads, and cloth costume dolls with wired bodies, dressed as various professions.

Kammer & Reinhardt were one of the first producers to use coloured bisque for black, red Indian and oriental dolls, the latter of which had slanted eyes.

However, Kammer & Reinhardt is probably best known for their character baby and child dolls.

In 1902 Kammer & Reinhardt purchased the Heinrich Handwerck doll company and in 1919 they merged with the Simon & Halbig doll company.

After World War II, with their production base in what was then East Germany, all doll producers in the city of Waltershausen, where Kammer & Reinhardt were based, were combined into a single entity to avoid competition amongst the East German manufacturers, and operated as "Biggei".

The Kammer & Reinhardt company is now operating independently again, and still producing dolls.

In January 2013 a Kammer & Reinhardt doll set a world record for the most valuable German made character doll, when a doll modelled by renowned sculptor Arthur Lewin-Funcke of a child dressed in traditional German costume, known as Model 104, was sold for $US212,000 by Theriault's Antique Doll Auctions in California.

The auction house, which specialises in doll sales, currently holds the world record for any doll at auction, set in 2009 by a French model by sculptor Albert Marque, which achieved $US263,000.

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A porcelain figure of a boy in 18th century court dress, after J. J. Kandler.

Johann Joachim Kandler (1706-75) created small porcelain figures as table decorations for the Meissen factory from the late 1740s. As the chief modeller for Meissen for 40 years, at times he had up to 100 modellers working under him.

The first figures were in the Baroque style, and then later they were made in the Rococo style. It is estimated that over 1,000 different model styles were made.

Other European and English porcelain factories copied the figures, particularly Chelsea.


An evergreen conifer tree associated with New Zealand, but also grown in northern Australia, and islands around the Pacific rim including Borneo, Vanuatu and New Guinea. The timber is generally golden in colour, and straight grained without much knotting.

A by-product of the kauri tree was the kauri gum, the fossilised resin extracted from the tree. The gum was obtained through digging, fossicking in treetops, or more drastically, by bleeding live trees. Kauri gum was used in the manufacture of varnishes and other resin-based products, and also crafted into jewellery, keepsakes, and small decorative items.

Kauri forests were prolific in the north of the North Island of New Zealand. European settlers in the 1700 and 1800s realised that the timber from these tall trees with broad trunks would be ideal for ship building and construction and a thriving industry was established harvesting the kauri tree. The forests were substantially reduced, and now the remaining Kauri trees that grow in New Zealand are protected, and there are reserves in various areas of the North Island.

The remaining stands of kauri in New Zealand are under threat from "kauri disease", a microscopic organism that causes dieback in the trees, with vast tracts either dead or dying.


A kelim (or kilim) is a flat woven rug without a pile, produced from the Balkans through to Pakistan.

Kenrick, Archibald & Sons

Archibald Kenrick & Sons operated an iron foundry at West Bromwich, near Birmingham from 1791 to the 1950s.

The company was founded by Archibald Kenrick I (1760 - 1835) and the firm came to specialise in cast iron kitchen hollow-ware, which became its main product line in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

By the World War I the company had became one of the areas leading metal manufacturers. The interwar years were difficult, but in the 1950s, Kenricks acquired the manufacturing rights to the Shepherd castor for furniture, the market leader. This was to be crucial to the firm's prosperity in the 1960s and 70s.

Kendrick cast iron may be identified by a cast of the full company name into an unobtrusive section of an object, or alternatively, the an abbreviated mark, "A. K. & SONS".

There is a cast iron kettle by Kenrick in the Museum Victoria collection, and a cast iron double lotus shape doorknocker in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

Kettles on Stand

Unlike the utilitarian copper kettles found in the kitchen, these fancy kettles were an indispensable accessory for the formal tea party, held in the parlour or sitting room. Also known as spirit kettles, they were popular during the whole of the 18th and 19th centuries, and were originally used for replenishing the teapot.

They were sometimes one of the components of a tea set, but most examples appearing on the market in Australia are singles.

Most stands had four legs, with the burner situated at mid height between the four legs, allowing the presence or otherwise of a flame to be seen. Some kettles were attached to the stand with a chain, secured by a removable locking pin. The burners were removable from the frame for cleaning purposes

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Kewpie Doll

An early 20th century bisque Kewpie doll, standing with head down, eyes towards the left, jointed arms, and original paper label to front and back.

The Kewpie character was the invention of artist and cartoonist, Rose O'Neill (1874-1944). She had a strong interest in drawing from an early age, and after winning a prize in a drawing competition at the age of 13, and within two years was employed full-time a an artist for two magazines.

At he age of 19 she moved to New York to further her career, and within a few years became America's first woman cartoonist.

After two failed marriages she moved to live in a cottage in Missouri, and it was here, in 1909 at the age of 25 she created the line drawings for the Kewpie character for which she is so famous.

The line drawings were used by design student Joseph Kallus, to create the Kewpie doll. Kallus worked for Geo. Borgfeldt & Co. who had secured the distribution rights for the Kewpie doll.

The doll was an immediate success and by 1918 there were 21 factories in Germany and the United States producing kewpies to meet the demand experienced by Geo. Borgfeldt & Co.

The various manufacturers each specialised in making Kewpies in different materials. There were all bisque kewpies, celluloid kewpies and cloth and composition versions. Most Kewpies had Rose O'Neill's signature moulded into the one foot, but there were many kewpies made that were unauthorised and unsigned.

Although she became very wealthy from her creation, by 1944 she had lost most of her wealth due to her extravagant lifestyle. She died in 1944 and the rights to the Kewpie passed back to the original designer, Joseph Kallus.

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Keys, Eileen

Eileen Keys was born in 1903 in New Zealand.

She studied at the Canterbury School of Art, Christchurch, and the Chelsea School of Art and Crafts in London.

She initially taught art at the Cathedral Grammar School, Christchurch, then in 1947 she moved to Western Australia and became involved with ceramics while teaching art and craft at Scotch College, Western Australia.

Basically she is

self-taught in ceramics except for visits to potters in England, Sweden, Japan and America, and she experimented much with local minerals in glazes.

She is represented in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of Western Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Eileen Keys died in 1986.


View of a kingwood veneered cabinet with ormolu mounts, showing the colour and graining of the timber.

A strongly grained wood, also known as princes wood, and varying in colour from light gold to deep brown, kingwood was first imported from Brazil in the late 17th century.

In the mid 19th century it was in use in veneer form in the very finest French Louis XV style ormolu-mounted furniture, often combined with other timbers or used for cross banding and inlaying. Occasional pieces are wholly veneered in kingwood.

Klismos Chair

A Thomas Chippendale Junior style Klismos chair.

The Klismos chair was originally developed by the ancient Greeks in the 5th century BC. The design with a rectangular curved back and concave tapeing legs was revived during the Regency period. Versions were made for the Earl of Harewood for the refurbished Entrance Hall at Harewood House, c. 1805.


A cabochon-carved knee with scrolling ears.

The curved top of a cabriole leg, often carved.


A recessed section, mainly found on Georgian desks and dressing tables, which does not go through the full depth of the item, and usually terminates in a cupboard at the back.

Kneehole Desk

A type of small pedestal desk, in appearance not unlike a chest of drawers with a central recessed section enabling the user to draw a chair close to the writing surface. The recess was usually fitted with a cupboard. Kneehole desks date from the early Georgian period and usually have three drawers on either side of the kneehole and either one long or three short drawers across the top. There was some variation to this rule among 19th century pieces. Chests of drawers are very susceptible to conversion into kneehole desks, which are several times more valuable.

Knife Box

Knife boxes would only have existed in the upper echelons of society in late 18th and early 19th centuries. There were two forms of knife or cutlery boxes made to designs by Adam, Hepplewhite, Sheraton and others. The urn-shaped box with a lift up lid is much rarer. The urns were usually made to stand one on each end of a pedestal sideboard. The more common form is a sloping mahogany box, serpentine shaped in front, with divisions for holding cutlery. The lid was generally inlaid with a star on the inside, but a cockleshell inlay on the outer surface will be a Victorian addition. Some knife boxes have had the divisions for knives removed, and been converted into stationery boxes.

In Australia, knife boxes rarely appear on the market, nor is demand strong, as apart from collectors, there is little purpose in owning one.

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Knife Sharpeners and Grinders

Some Victorian and Edwardian table knives were made of iron or steel, which turned black after use. To solve this problem, knife grinders and sharpeners were invented.

They were cased in wood or iron plate and had a winding handle. The blades were inserted through slots and sandwiched between pads impregnated with fine carborundum. By turning the handle, the stains were removed.


In Georgian glassware, the knop is a bulbous protrusion, usually midway up the stem of the glass. It may be included singly or in groups, and may be hollow or solid. There are many styles of knop including basal, baluster, bell, acorn, cone, flattened, melon and mushroom.

Knop (ceramics)

In ceramics, a knop is a protuberance on the top of an object, and can be either decorative, or used as a knob to lift the item.

Knop (glass)

In Georgian glassware, the knop is a bulbous protrusion, usually midway up the stem of the glass. It may be included singly or in groups, and may be hollow or solid. There are many styles of knop including basal, baluster, bell, acorn, cone, flattened, melon and mushroom.

Knop (silver)

A knop on a silver item is either a bulbous protrusion mid way along a stem, such as on a candlestick or at the end of a stem, such as on a spoon, or a knob or finial on top of a cover or lid, that acts as a handle. On a stemmed item such as a candlestick there may be a series of knops of different shapes.

Kosta Boda

A Kosta, Sweden, 'Trees in the Mist' vase, designed by Vicke Lindstrand, c. 1951, coloured glass, signed with acid stamp to underside.

The Kosta Glassworks (Kosta Glasbruk) were founded in Sweden in 1742 and are the earliest glassworks still in operation in Sweden. The name was derived from the last names of the two founders, Anders Koskull, and Georg Bogoslaus Stael von Holstein, giving "Ko-Sta"

It's early production was utilitarian items including window glass, and later chandeliers, wine and beer glasses.

Kosta began producing art glass after 1897 and the company won awards at the 'Celebration of Electricity' fair in Paris in 1900. The designers who worked for Kosta were instrumental in creating the styles of the Swedish Arts & Craft Movement, and displaying the quality of Scandinavian glass designs around this time.

In the 1950's Vicke Lindstrand, who had previously worked for Orrefors, joined Kosta as artistic director, where he remained until 1973. As artistic director he was able to influence the design philosophy of Kosta, and during his employment more and more colour was introduced into the Kosta designs.

Other well known Kosta designers include Goran Warff, Monika Backstrom, Ulrica Hydman-Vallien and Bertil Vallien and examples of their work appear frequently at auction.

In 1970 the Kosta company merged with three other glassworks: Boda, founded in 1864, Afors founded in 1896 and Johansfors founded in 1891 under the name AB Åforsgruppen.

In 1976 the company name was changed to Kosta Boda and since 1989, has been part of the Orrefors Kosta Boda group. In 1992 the Johansfors glassworks was bought by a group of former employees and is no longer a part of the Kosta Boda group.

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An ancient Apulian terracotta bell krater, decorated with female profile to one side and a female musician to the other, on a black ground.

A krater is an ancient Greek bowl for mixing wine and water in which the mouth Is always the widest part of the vessel. In ancient Greece it was considered bad form to drink undiluted wine.

Kraters can be grouped according to the shape of the two handles, or of the vessel itself.

A Volute krater has handles shaped like the volutes on an Ionic capital, whereas a column krater has columnar handles.

A calyx krater is shaped flower bud, while a bell krater is shaped like a bell.


A small kris with pistol grip handle, lacquered snake shaped blade and fine wooden sheath.

A kris is a traditional dagger with a wavy blade, associated with Indonesia, but also found in Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and Singapore.

It is considered to be both a weapon and a spiritual object, and krises are often considered to posses magical powers.

The kris has three parts: the handle, the sheath and the blade, and each can possess special characteristics that enhance its value and appeal to collectors.


The kukri is a knife or small sword, with an inward curving blade used by the Nepalese both as a weapon, a tool and in ceremonies. It is the traditional weapon of the Gurkha soldiers. They are usually about 40 cm long, but a sacrificial kukri was sold in Sydney in 2013 that was 73 cm long.

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Kutani Ware

A large Japanese Kutani porcelain vase depicting traditional Samurai fighting scenes late 19th century, signed Kutani and other character marks to base.

It is believed that Kutani ware was first manufactured in what was the Kaga Province of Japan in the seventeenth century, supposedly inspired by the techniques used at Arita.

However production of Kutani ware ceased towards the end of the 17th century, and it was not until the 19th century that production was revived.

The objects produced during the short period of about 60 years that the kilns were in production in the 17th century are called ko Kutani, but objects from this period rarely appear on the market. The items sold as Kutani, also known as Kaga-style wares, are from the 19th century.

The colours used included a brownish red, muddy yellow and intense green, on a greyish ground.

Many different porcelain products were made, mostly for the Western market, including tea and coffee sets, dishes, bowls, incense burners and small decorative items.

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Kylin or Qilin

A rare glazed stoneware Qilin, probably Jin Dynasty, 1115/1234.

A kylin or qilin is a mythical Chinese animal, dating back to the 5th century with the head of a dragon, the body of a deer and the tail of a lion. It is a regarded as a good omen bringing serenity and prosperity, and is said to appear with the coming or departure of a wise sage or illustrious ruler.

It is also part of the culture of Korea and Japan.

As well as being represented in bronze and jade, it is also used as a decorative motif on ceramics.


A Greek Apulian red figure kylix, Southern Italy, circa 4th century BC, the tondo with painted figure of a swan encircled by laurel leaves.

A kylix is an ancient Greek pottery vessel, with a wide shallow cup usually with tow handles, on a stem with a foot. The interior of the cup, called the tondo provided an almost flat surface for painted decoration.