well carved coquilla nut snuff flask
Early 19th Century, Probably France
The elongated oval nut caved with a bugbear* type face at one end, and having a stopper at the other,
that end also resembling a face, using the natural shape to form “eyes”, a protruding nose and mouth,
the sides elaborately carved with a seated winged angel being kissed by a hunting hound
and sided by fruiting trees (probably pomegranate),
the reverse with a musical medallion depicting a harp, lute and flutes, all below a row of large tropical leaves
* “A bugbear, also called a boogerbear, is a legendary creature comparable to the bogeyman, bogey, bugaboo, hobgoblin and other creatures of folklore, all of which were historically used in some cultures to frighten disobedient children. In medieval England, for instance, the Bugbear was a creepy and gigantic bear that lurked in the woods; children were warned not to stray too far from home or misbehave, for "the Bugbear will get you." In a modern context, the term bugbear serves as a metaphor for something which is annoying or irritating.” (Wiki)
The coquilla nut emanates from swampy areas on the eastern side of South America, from a palm known as the “attalea funiefera”. Brazilians call it “Piassabe”. The nuts were introduced into Western Europe in the mid-16th century, and used for small carved objects until the end of the 19th century.
For a discussion on coquilla nuts, see Pinto, Treen and Other Wooden Bygones,
pp 194-6, and Plates 250 -207.
Plates 206-7 show similarly carved nuts – K-M (Pl. 207) carved with “bugbear” faces.
Condition : Very good to excellent, with old nicks, scratches and shrinkage cracks appropriate to age and usage
3.5” Long / 2.6 oz.
Price : Please Inquire
Also See :
Late 18th Century Lignum Vitae Snuff
|Carved Crowned Hunchback Fruitwood Snuffbox, Late 18th Century||
England, early 19th century
We welcome and encourage all inquiries. We will make every attempt to answer any questions you might have..
For information, call (901) 761-1163 or (901) 827-4668, or
American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Discover accepted
M. Ford Creech Antiques & Fine Arts / 581 South Perkins Road / Memphis, TN 38117 / USA / Wed.-Sat. 11-6, or by appointment