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Finely Carved Folk Art Box - Walnut - Date and Origin Unknown

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Posted 3 years ago

(773 items)

So, this piece was purchased a few weeks ago from a guy who bought it many years ago at Brimfield. I actually bought two very strange pieces of what he called "folk art" from him. This pieces is really something to look at, the pics do not do it justice, but it is all i have for now.

Let's start with the carvings. The carvings, to me say American. These "pin wheels" and "swirls" are identical to those you see on Pilgrim Century Furniture. I live by Wallace Nutting's and George Neuman's books, and The carvings are what you see on early early furniture......based on my knowledge. Now...the pyramids on the top have me baffled. I have never seen something like this...it actually reminds me of tramp art. Nonetheless, this was carved from one piece of wood, which I believe is straight grained walnut (fhr, scottvez can you verify this?)

Moving on to function, It is a small box....quite small about three inches by nine inches, maybe 4 inches tall. It could be a trinket box? But wait...the inside has two compartments, not just one. Picture three shows the inside of the piece. Strangely, if you flip the top over, it settles into the squares just perfectly. This has me thinking that it could be some type of functional item. A spice box, butter or sugar mold? Could it be something highly specific, or just a box....I do not know.

Overall, I have never seen something like is exactly in terms of size and style. I think the patina looks good, and the signs of wear are appropriate, and condition is very good. Somewhere deep down I am thinking Asian. It hurts to think that, but there is something preventing me from saying 100 percent it is American. So there is my ramble, sorry for boring you, if you would like to comment please do as I love to hear from people. Enjoy!!!

Unsolved Mystery

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  1. cogito cogito, 3 years ago
    I've had something similar in the past, and after much research and calling around it was ultimately determined that it was likely Scandanavian (or Scandanavian-American) folk art. I would recommend starting your search for similar boxes from Norway or Sweden (or by immigrants to America from those areas).
  2. BHock45 BHock45, 3 years ago
    cogito, yes, I remember you commented awhile back on something else that I found, very similar to the carvings on this box. You had given the same advice, and that is a great place to start. I also think it may be a good idea to start with the type of wood. If we can say for sure it is a certain kind of wood, then we can narrow down its origin.
  3. Zowie Zowie, 3 years ago
    This is a beautiful piece of work many hours would of gone into the making of it would love to know what it was used for. As for the top it may be just a easy way to make a lid handle.
  4. BHock45 BHock45, 3 years ago
    thanks budek manikin zowie walksoftly mike racer agh and violet for the loves!
  5. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 3 years ago
    I wouldn't bet my mortgage on it being walnut. I might be willing to bet is Pennsylvania Dutch double compartment spice box. I might also guess late 1800's copy cat of an original.
  6. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 3 years ago
  7. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 3 years ago
    Pivot tops were earlier. You have a slide out but no problem as they were all unique and mostly made by immigrants passing through. Tramp art is a possibility. I doubt you will find another so look for similar.
  8. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 3 years ago
    I would think it's from India and not very old at all. (They recycle old lumber and are excellent at applying just enough distress and dirty finishes to fool many people into thinking items have great age).

    If viewed in person, I think more people would agree with me. If the amount of wear on the exterior was real, the spices or tea it held should have cleaned up the rough in the corners.

    Still a nice piece.

    T A
  9. katherinescollections katherinescollections, 3 years ago
    TubeAmp hit on my feeling looking at this piece, that it was "antiqued." The corners are too rounded, the wear too even, to my eye. Also the decor is a sort of mishmash of styles. I wouldn't have called it Indian, but he is obviously far more of an expert than myself.

    Curious to know what happens with this box!
  10. BHock45 BHock45, 3 years ago
    In the description I mentioned that there is a second box. It turns out that ones is a pivot top. I will post some pictures tomorrow. Fhrjr u seem to think this is a pa and American?
  11. BHock45 BHock45, 3 years ago
    TubeAmp, I agree that it does have a very Asian feel to it. I wouldn't be entire ly shocked if what you are saying is correct.

    katherines....if you were to hold this piece you would understand why the corners are too rounded. It is a tiny box and when you hold you hold in by all four corners. It is almost exactly like how you hold a digital camera when taking a photo. Based on the natural way to hold the box I would not say that the corners are not too rounded at all. However, I do agree with your "mishmash of styles" comment. I remain very skeptical about this piece.
  12. BHock45 BHock45, 3 years ago

    this is a very similar box...the lid is not the same stepback effect of course
  13. BHock45 BHock45, 3 years ago
    a few other things that I may not have added. The person I bought this from claimed, the key word is claimed, that he had it in his collection for thirty years. Next, even if this is faked, or made in China or India, it still would have taken a long time to carve, and a long time to "fake". You would think that if someone who took the time to fake an antique, they are going to want to get money for their time spent faking. I did not spend even close to what I would think that amount would be. That does not mean that it is not fake....of course.
  14. Zowie Zowie, 3 years ago
    A pleasure as always

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