Once upon a time, religious figures made of chalkware were abundant in every Italian home. From the Madonna to the Nativity scene to miniature cherubs, chalkware has been used as less expensive alternative ceramic pieces even if they are delicate and lightweight. The technique then reached Germany before it eventually ended up in the United States, where the tradition of making chalkware remains alive until now, although American-made figurines are not made for religious purposes. Each piece depicts a variety of subject matter, and for a while, they were even used as chalkware carnival prizes. Artisans painstakingly paint fine details on popular subjects, such as chalkware fish, birds, and flowers before buildings and cartoon-like figures became common. When you look at history, the figures depict popular images of a certain time, which makes some of them—like those in good condition—rare items. Collectors would scour vintage shops or eBay to find those rare works of art, without chips or cracks and still with intact paint. A word of advice when you happen to come across one, handle it carefully to avoid damage. You wouldn’t want its value to come down, do you?