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Unidentified wood carving ornamental utilitarian object

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Asian Antiques1625 of 4190Japanese Imari porcelain oval platterJapanese Vase.
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Posted 1 year ago


(6 items)

Here is a wood carving of what appears to be foo dogs, lions, monkeys or dragons? There are three heads- one in the middle and one on either end. Under the middle head there appear to be crossed horns (like horns of plenty) but are filled with something floral or leaves. The two heads on the end seem to be eating their tails. There are two metal (iron) attachments which dangle from each side that appear as though they would hold a strap of some sort. The piece does not have enough depth to serve as a saddle. It appears to have been made to sit atop something. Two pieces of wood extend down from the mid sections of the sides and two pieces of flattened wood attach to them. This is what I am thinking was made to sit upon something. The carving is rather elaborate, but the piece appears to have some utilitarian purpose as well as ornamental. It appears to be very old. The piece is 18 1/2" across and about 11" tall. (See photos for more.)
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  1. jwendell222 jwendell222, 1 year ago
    Hi goho, welcome to CW. There are a few strange postings in Asian, but I think you have aced the pole position for weird. I bookmarked your page and will watch with interest to see if you get a resolution. Good luck, Jim
  2. goho, 1 year ago
    Thanks Jim. Would you suggest another category, or leave it under Asian? Thanks! Donna
  3. jwendell222 jwendell222, 1 year ago
    Hi Donna, it could be European, maybe German or Swiss, based on the elaborate carving. The cornucopia has it's origins in Greek mythology, but has since been a symbol of plenty in the art of many countries. The facing dog doesn't look 'foo', can't tell about the side figures. I agree that it seems to have some function. There appear to be two pieces suspended below the side creatures as if for a retaining strap or belt. Are these metal? I think you have it placed as well as possible for now. Nice puzzle. Best wishes, Jim
  4. jwendell222 jwendell222, 1 year ago
    I see they are metal, gotta be for a retaining strap. Here's a wild guess: ornament or standard for a parade carriage horse?
  5. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 1 year ago
    they look more like mideval lions, than foo dogs to me.
  6. walksoftly walksoftly, 1 year ago
    I'm thinking harness accessory to be attached to the harness saddle (as apposed to a riding saddle). The rings in picture 3 could be rein terrets.
    All the parts portrayed have a basis in mythology, could be of northern Europe origin.
    The center head looks like that of a wolverine with it's slender head & short ears. Also known as a Gulon in Scandinavian mythology.
    The outer heads as you say "seem to be eating their tails", that would be a Ouroboros
  7. sarahoff sarahoff, 1 year ago
    It's definitely old, it has great worm eaten holes. The bottom brackets are interesting, they would have to attach to something with peak angles.
  8. sarahoff sarahoff, 1 year ago
    I think Jwendell might be right about it being an ornamental carriage mount.

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