Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Mystery object - your help needed
Here's something to take your mind off things for a brief moment - what is it?
All I know is that it is made from a marble-like, mottled stone; is about 6 inches long; has a floral motif around the top half; a stylised lion's head with a grinning, toothy, human smile; a roughly carved well in the centre and three grooves which slope downwards - making cigarettes difficult to balance, before you say it is an ashtray.
It does not look English, and it appears to be very old - it has traces of mud in the recesses which indicates that it has been dug up.
My initial feeling is that it is an inkwell or paint-container, and the three grooves are to rest pens or brushes with their ends on a table.
Your help would be greatly appreciated - especially your qualified help if you work for the British Museum. Any conjecture would be appreciated as well.
Mini update: I am pretty sure this is a calligraphic inkwell (see photo below of a traditional but new, Chinese one which also has lion motif) but I would like to be sure of the country. It looks more Indian or Persian to me, and not Chinese. Any experts out there?