**Originally Listed At $650**
British Empire, ca. 19th century CE. Carved by a sailor in the British Navy somewhere in the Tropics, this is a coconut shell covered in fantastic decoration, shaped into the form of a powder flask. Carved in the round, the motifs include a European couple on one side and a non-European couple on the other, with appropriate backgrounds and accessories, including what appears to be a swan. Swirling floral patterns fill in the rest of the surface. A brass spout projects from the top, near a mustachioed face carved where the "eyes" of the coconut would have been. These "eyes" appear to have once had inlays, perhaps of shell or brass, to complete the face. This style of flask is carved from green coconuts when they were still soft and supple. Sometimes called a "bugbear", flasks of this kind always feature a frightening face designed to act as a kind of protector figure for the contents within - no doubt the carver hoped they would stay dry! Size: 2.75" W x 6.4" H (7 cm x 16.3 cm)
Provenance: ex-Haig's of Rochester, Rochester, Michigan, USA
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Eyes on the face near the opening are lost; otherwise in excellent condition with a rich patina. The brass tube at the top is slightly loose, but still present.