The Chinese question is interesting because of the geopolitical nature of the issue.
I believe others have already mentioned this in myriad threads, but regardless of what leaders of mainland China believe, the reality of the world is that there are two Chinas. Mainland China and independent, free, democratic Taiwan. This may be upsetting to Beijing, but I won't get bogged down in the politics or semantics of it all. The actual map of the world, the mindset of Taiwan, and representation at the United Nations confirms there are two Chinas.
I believe that when people write - either wrongly or rightly - about poor-grade and lesser quality Chinese paperweights they are writing about some of the work made in Zibo City in the Shandong province of mainland China. Mass market decorative items - vases, animals, ornaments, clowns, paperweights, etc. Utilizing the restrictve nature of contemporary Chinese society, the government has established industrial zones in Mainland China or Red China or the People's Republic Of China (whatever you want to call it). The glassmaking zone is Shandong and Zibo City, specifically. I realize this may be difficult for some to understand or appreciate, but that is the nature of Beijing's industrial policies. There is a steel zone, a glass and ceramic zone, a clothing zone, an appliance zone, a computer zone, an electronics zone, a car zone, etc. Of course, lack of specific freedom notwithstanding, these zones have carried China on a wave of superb economic success.
The mass-produced Chinese paperweights and vases from Shandong are not representations of artisitic achievement or individual craftsmanship. It's a society based on the concept of the collective. Mass market wins. Individual expression is not high priority - yet.
HOWEVER, there are glassmakers on Taiwan who are ARTISTS (such as we have in the West; people like Tarsitano or Trabucco or Chihuly or Secrest or Muller) and these Taiwan artists create unique and exquisitely crafted glass objects. They are Chinese as well, although I gather they are Taiwanese Chinese.
Therefore, in stating the above, I wish to return focus to my original debate. The facts are these, right now two people herein have written that they have pedestal paperweights of superb design and crafting that are signed Schneider. Myself and Mark.
As I've stated, there have to be more of these Schneider weights and somebody made these weights. One of the things I've noticed is that there is not a lot of written history about Murano. I am always suprised how few Murano works (vases, lamps, weights, etc.) are signed. Yes, there's 3 Fiori (now gone) but far too many Muranese creations are unsigned or had labels that are long gone.
Why is that? What was in the Murano mindset that made the workers and owners of the factories there not significantly sign their work?
If we were all detectives, we'd state the facts. There's a pedestal weight. It's a beautiful and top-notch piece. It's signed Schneider. Two people have an object like this. One lives in California; one in Chicago. Is there some importance to be placed on the fact that both live in the U.S.A.? None of the experts can precisely pinpoint the source of the pedestal. There have been good clues, but so far the answer is elusive.
I wish more Italians would read this board, especially anyone from the area of Venice or actually from Murano. But Schneider is a German name. So, we're back to square one.
At the moment, my gut instinct tells me that these pedestals were made on Murano and were imported by a company or person called Schneider. I wish there was some vital ledger or piles of paperwork that ultimately answered the question.
Of course, it's sort of exciting to think that out of all the paperweights in the world and of all the paperweight collectors in the world, there are only TWO examples. And, of course, we know (and I know) that this cannot possibly be true.
But, if it is - very cool.