The round silver-mounted lidded tankard in the 3-footed Scandinavian manner,
of heavy figured lignum vitae, carved with a band of vertical rectangles over a plain band,
above a band of horizontal rectangles carved to represent basket-weaving (likely engine turning);
the ring-turned cover with pierced silver thumb lift, attached to an s-shaped lignum vitae handle;
the body rim, handle and handle thumb lift all silver-mounted
raised on three silver paw feet;
both the rim band and the three feet marked (to the underside)
Condition : a few expected shrinkage cracks to the wood; some repaired cracks beneath handle top;
otherwise excellent; an overall amazing vessel
Lignum vitae – also known as "ironwood" and "tree of life" –
is regarded by most to be both the heaviest and hardest wood in the world.
This extremely hard, heavy, oily, wood has a feathered grain pattern with a distinct brownish olive color,
which takes an excellent and lustrous finish. However, it is considered quite difficult to work,
being best suited for turning on the lathe rather than cutting and joining.
It was first imported from the West Indies to Europe about 1515.
At that time, it was thought to cure venereal disease.
In England, beginning in 17th century Stuart period, lignum vitae was often used by "turners"
as drinking vessels and mortars and pestles, as its high oil content makes it resistant to liquids.
Other uses have included rigging for ships, croquet mallets, skittles, and police clubs,
as the wood is not only water resistant, but quite strong
Unfortunately, Lignum Vitae has been exploited to the brink of extinction,
and is now an endangered species.
7.5” High over thumb lift, 8.5” Wide overall / 2 lbs. 9.2 oz