A pair of coquilla nut snuff boxes
Little is known about the production of curiosities made from the hard coquilla nut. The romantic idea that this work was done by Portuguese sailors in Brazil waiting for a favorable return wind cannot be true. Given the large production, the diverse styles and professional execution, it seems more like a European craft item that has been serialized for several decades. The nuts, brought in from overseas from the West Indies, were processed by cutters who did that work on a daily base. These two funny snuff boxes prove that production is more serial than we would like to think, they are nearly identical . The carver managed to strike the image exactly and did not allow any further imagination, only in the proportions we see a minimal distinction. Both figures are made from a hollowed nut, the feet and the hinged lid on the back are cut from another nut and added. It is a wonder that our collection can show two such identical pieces and thereby prove the serial manufacture. For those who feel the challenge I would say: spot the differences!
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