Friday, 10 January 2014


                                        Mystery Object.

I think I'd better start by giving you a HUGE clue.  The illustrated item is Japanese. I am not an orientalist but I do admire craftsmanship. It is sometimes difficult to get out of our own artistic culture and admire other cultures and crafts. It is not difficult in this case. In its way it is exquisite. The outer case is of  embroidered fabric reinforced with iron plates and a form of chain mail (tautology those last two words). The object inside the case is mainly of brass with flower head decoration in more valuable metals, and is the size of a walnut. It has a function.  The outer fabric case (the bag) measures  four and a half inches by three inches.

Could you give me, please, the item's purpose (i.e. its function) and a guess at when it was made. I couldn't get closer  than the century in which it was made, and I don't expect anyone to get (reliably) closer than that.

When you've had a go, I'll put some more photies up to illustrate its purpose. It's possible that someone has seen a similar one and will know what it is, but they have always been fairly rare items; So - good guessing,
                                and Good Night.


Rog said...

Absolutely flummoxed!!

kippy said...

That is a doozy! Guessing 18th century.

Maggie said...

Me too!

Mike and Ann said...

My machine seems to have had a brainstorm and has published Crowbard's comment on Wednesday's blog entry. Crowbard spotted what the item was, but got the date slightly wrong. Both Kippy and Maggie got the date right. Rog, for once got flummoxed, but I hope he has recovered by now. One other thing I should record is that some years ago the British Museum held an exhibition of Japanese Netsuki. Among the hundreds of netsuke shown were two of these tinder lighter netsuke, neither of them as complete as the one we've been discussing. I record this to demonstrate the rarity of the item.