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please help with an id, its been bugging me for so long

All items218023 of 220921solid brass gizmo the gremlinWolf's Brewing Co. tin sign-Stillwater,MN
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    Posted 10 years ago

    (42 items)

    i really hope that someone can help me identify this very unusual item.
    i have had this for about two years and have tried and tried to research and find something similar but with no success.
    i bought this from a carboot, the stall holder does house clearences and all that he could tell me was that it came from an old gentlemans house who had passed on.

    it is carved from one solid piece of wood, it has some strange lettering on the side, four holes hand carved right through the object which emerge underneath where there is a metal flap, there was once a handle on the side which operated the flap so that two of the holes could be closed off leaving the other two open. the holes have been very carefully cared so that holes 1 and 3 meet on one side of the flap and holes 2 and 4 on the other side.
    it has some lovely patina and wear but as to its original use i haven't a clue, from a distance it looks like its for holding candles, its not untill you pick it up and see the underneath that you realise it isn't. i think the image carved on the front is of a dolphin and whales tale but i could be wrong, it is also quite a heavy object and looks like it would of stood on something else.

    any help or ideas would be very gratefully recieved.
    thanks ian

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    1. downeastfinds, 10 years ago
      Yours is very nice with with the metal and extra tooling.
      Bought mine from a walk in customer who said someone told her they were from Africa. The only suggestions I've had from people are similar to what the lady was told, that they were used for sifting grains or seeds. I would like to find someone who knows for sure. They are nice pieces and are a heavy wood with nice patina.
      Yours is very nice with the metal and extra tooling.
    2. imander imander, 10 years ago
      since i started my researchi have found that mine is 19th century and possible comes from kazikstan or a region around there. i have been lead to believe that it is some sort of alter piece but this i am unsure about. the holes in mine have been carved so that they cross each other and in the base is a inticate flap system. it works some thing like this, holes one and three on the top of the item link up and meet in the base, holes two and four meet up in the base. there is a flap system in the base which would of had a handle so you can close of two of the holes and only allow for example things to pass through from holes one and three or two and four.....this has totally baffled everyone that so far has studied it. If it were for sorting/sifting grains or seeds there would be no need for such an intricate hole and flap system.....also bafferling is the iconography on the front and back of mine plus the strange language on one side.
      When i looked at yours i wondered whether yours were unfinished and wether the blocks haven't been finished carving. Do the holes in yours cross because i also wondered wether the cross on yours was showing where they crossed.

      These are really wonderful yet bafferling items......if you ever decide to sell yourplease bear me in mind.

      TY IAN

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