Joseph Heinrich was established as a metal molder and finisher in New York by the 1880's. After 1902 he was listed both at 948 Broadway, opposite the Flatiron building, probably a showroom, and at 227 West 29th Street, most likely a workshop and perhaps a wholesale showroom. Heinrich's innovative copper and silver pieces were retailed by many important firms, including Tiffany and Black Starr & Frost. An "Indian" copper and silver punch bowl and stand, with many of the same motifs as the offered lot, is in the Metropolitan Museum, with a retailer's mark of Shreve, Crump & Low, Boston (Charles L. Venable, Silver in America,
fig. 6.68, p. 198). Another similar copper and silver example retailed by Hammersmith & Field, San Francisco was presented as a trophy at the 29th Triennial Conclave in San Francisco, 1904, and sold Sotheby's, New York, January 20-21, 2012, lot 55. The business ended in the mid 1920s.
The 1876 Philadelphia Centennial brought about a uniquely American aesthetic, with industries producing objects that celebrated North American flora, fauna, and animals. There was also a particular interest in Native American imagery, which lasted through the early 20th century. Joseph Heinrich produced some of the most overt examples of these "American" objects, and his punch bowls featuring Indian heads and arrowheads are some of the best examples of this aesthetic.