Posted 6 years ago
I am hoping someone can help identify the age and country of origin of this fantastic wood carving. This is an exceptionally large carving - note the egg carton for perspective. This was definitely carved to be a mold! Note the deep carved connection between the body and the hand on the left side. This would only have been done to facilitate removing the finished item from the mold.
The carved figure seems to be dressed in a very old European uniform or costume. At first it looks like a uniform as the man is wearing a sword but there are bells like a jestor might wear on the ends of his sleeves and on his ankles. With his long hair and mustache and sword he might even be one of the three Musketeers? Note the detail is so intense in this carving that the sword has a bird's head that even has an eye carved into it. The carver must have been a very accomplished wood worker.
This is very heavy and seems too large to be a cookie mold but I don’t know what else it could have been used for. The wood block (without the wood frame) is slightly irregular in shape and measures between 8 3/4" and 9 1/4" wide by between 22 3/8" and 22 1/2 tall". The wood is very dense and may be Walnut or a similar hard wood. It is about 1 1/4" thick and the image is carved over 5/8" deep in places. It doesn't seem like it was ever a perfect rectangle. The carved image is about 8 3/4" by 19 1/2" at its largest points. The frame is certainly not original and was hastily added using scrap wood of different widths and thicknesses. It looks to have been added to protect the image from the disintegration of the wood that is visible on the back side – maybe added 50-75 years ago judging by the odd sizes of the wood strips and the old, rusty nails? There is a very large area of dry rot that is almost all the way through and about to damage the image. There are also quite a few worm holes like those often found in 17th and 18th century European furniture.
If anyone can shed any light on this object please send me a note. Any thoughts or theories will be appreciated.
Thanks for looking!