I promised an anthropological mystery object this week, so I begged the @MuseumGeekGirls to keep their eyes peeled for something interesting and here it is:
Many thanks to Laura, Pari, Helen and Nick for finding this and bringing it to my attention!
Simple questions – where’s it from, what’s it for and what’s it made of? It stumped me.
As usual you can put your suggestions, observations and questions in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer. Good luck!
Looks Asian, Chinese?
no idea what it’s made of, but it looks porous – if so could it be designed to keep whatever liquid is kept inside cool? through evaporation through the fabric of the pot?
or where the grooves in the pattern are ran some sort of hanging devise and it contained incsence perhaps? strung up from a ceiling or swung about?
how big is it?
Asian is right, probably China – well done!
It’s about 7cm or so high.
Not for liquids or incense…
Is it made from ostrich leather? What does the other side looks like?
Not Ostrich leather – it’s from the wrong part of the world for that. The other side is much the same – the inside has no pores but has irregular ridges on the surface.
Ah China. Unfortunately I cannot read Chinese characters, bummer. So yea, def. not ostrich then but is it made from some kinda leather?
I’m thinking it’s used for fermentation maybe.
It does look like it’s got Chinese seal script on the right hand side…
So I would guess it comes from either China or any of the surrounding East Asian countries with strong Chinese influences
A cremation urn? And is that woodworm holes…
Not a cremation urn and the holes aren’t woodworm.
Is it knitted (or crocheted), from some form of – possibly silk – string?
I know it sounds pretty daft, but that’s what it most looks like to me!
Oh, and for, er, tea, maybe?
It’s not knitted or crocheted – although I see where you’re coming from. You’re right about the tea though! Well done!
The base of the stopper looks like it is pleated, as though it’s made of sort of fabric pulled around a former. Having said that, the material looks like dough left to dry out and varnished. Most intriguing.
I think that you could be right about it being pulled around a former. It’s not dough though…
OK late cos catching up on overnight work I couldn’t do cos broadband went down, so I haven’t opened the comments .. expect I shall feel a twit when I do …
Egyptian, terracotta, for holding squidgy bits taken out before mummification. I’m sure you couldn’t resist *something* gross. xxx Mummy
I am trying to do this on the phone by the way …
Unusually, it’s not something gross! It’s also not terracotta nor is it Egyptian – sorry!
I think it could be made of pumice. Or maybe sponge. Or yoghurt.
Sorry, none of those and surely it would be cheese rather than yoghurt anyway?
I have been asked to put forward the suggestion that it is either made from rice, or mushrooms.
Neither rice nor mushroom, but you’re the closest so far!
must be chow-mein
Some kind of strange wood?
It’s not wood.
Looks like its compressed into its shape. I want to say some sort of cork? Plant based?
I think you’re right about it being compressed into shape. It’s not cork, but it is plant based!
Being from that part of the world, it’s not made from bamboo, is it? That might be an obvious and silly suggestion, though! Plus you said it wasn’t wood. Hmm.
Do you know how old it is?