Snuff rasp with bird
In the eighteenth century special habits were cultivated among snuff takers. Whoever wanted to use fresh snuff could best grate it himself. For that purpose pocket and hand rasps were in circulation that soon develop into rather exuberant luxury items. The rasp shown here consists of a wooden back in which a metal grater is fixed. The grater is no more than a thin metal blade with aligned rows of punched holes, both from the front as from the back. The burrs of the metal pulverize the snuff bread easily, while through the inward-looking holes the tobacco powder falls into the back of the object. At the bottom, the tobacco powder leaves the grater through a simple hole. Remarkable is the decoration of this grater, which shows a bird whose head and neck are in full relief and serve as a handle. The body of the bird is cut out on the flat base, here in a more modest relief. The lower part of the rasp back has been left smooth for the owner's monogram, engraved in swirling, typically eighteenth-century letters. When not in use, the grater can be hung by an eye in the head of the animal, creating the impression of being freshly shot. Thanks to this brass suspension eye, this grater survived its time hanging somewhere on the wall.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 22.074Permalink