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What is this? Strange Sea Dragon metal ornament/container

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Asian Antiques4811 of 7264japanese geisha ?? Handpainted Art Noveau Vase
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Posted 4 years ago


(1 item)


I'm trying to find out what this item would have been used for and it's origins on behalf of my parents. They love it but have no idea what it is - and neither did the seller!

My parents bought it at a 2nd hand shop in the UK, along with a dragon candlestick. Not matching, but I presume they came from the same lot.

The ornament is about 12" in size and very heavy. It is silver in colour but shows signs of wear, revealing what might be brass underneath?

The mane and front are adorned with little men that look to be riding the animal - not sure if it is a dragon, seahorse or cross between the 2.

No date marks that I could see.

We are curious mainly because of the tail that comes away from the main body. There are no catches on it to keep it closed and when together, the tail sits to the side, supporting the head. The inside isn't lined and although someone suggested it could be a large snuff box, it doesn't have a 'lid' so think it's probably not.

Any information would be greatly received. My parents are on holiday so would love to find out what it is for when they return.

Mystery Solved


  1. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Hippocamp: part horse part sea creature.
  2. THS, 4 years ago
    Oh fab, thank you for naming it. I thought it was a dragon at first but the closer I looked, the more I thought it looked like a horse!

    Do you know what it might have been used for? and where it is from?
  3. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Sorry no, that's all I got!
  4. THS, 4 years ago
    ah that's ok, great start and googled it and it most definately is that, so thank you :o)
  5. Phatbuddha Phatbuddha, 4 years ago
    Lovely piece :)
    I think it's to big for a vinaigrette and their isn't a catch to seal it shut.
    Wish I could see the end of the tail better, it looks like it may come off ?
  6. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Those little guys riding on it look like sea monkeys :-))
  7. THS, 4 years ago
    Hi guys,

    Thanks for replying!

    Oh I did put the size and extra pics on the profile - are they not visible?
    It's approx 12" anyway but I don't think the tail part comes off (will have a good yank on it next time I visit my folks though, ha ha).

    I googled it and I think the creatures were used like chariots of the sea by Poseidon and the gods.

    Spent hours looking on the web for any similar items but I've found nothing so far.
  8. Phatbuddha Phatbuddha, 4 years ago
    Maybe it's two drinking cups ? I would have a couple of shots of jack in one
  9. AzTom AzTom, 4 years ago
    First, I don't know squat about this figure. I do have some experience in general and will add some thought to help you in research.

    Being that large would tell me it's just a decorative item. It looks to be made using the slush cast procedure so being in two parts would be easier to mold. The workmanship is actually rather poor for it to be a high end item. It's probably from India in the 50's to 70's.

    That said, is it a cool looking item.
  10. THS, 4 years ago
    thanks for your comments - still not managed to find out what it is used for anywhere so will keep it going.
  11. AzTom AzTom, 4 years ago
    Ok, I did a quick search, I'm sure it is just a decorative item. I can't tell if these are the same manufacture as yours but it looks similar. It appears they are still being made by
    Balinese Bronze crafts manufacturer company in Bali Indonesia.
  12. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Well done Az!

  13. THS, 4 years ago
    AzTom - amazing! How on earth did you find it as I searched on images for hours, haha. Probably searching for the wrong thing though as these are described just as horses.

    I have e-mailed the company now to ask if it is one of theirs - although even with it being bronze & silver, I think it might only be worth between $10 & $60 as I saw similar ones on an import site (this style wasn't priced but other animals were).

    Well thank you everyone for your help. Parents have just returned from holiday and are chuffed to know what it is now. :)
  14. AzTom AzTom, 4 years ago
    THS, I think I search "India horse brass" then clicked on images. It is way faster to skim images than text.

    Hope to see some more great finds.

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