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Deeply Carved Sailor-Made Box
New England, likely Coastal Massachusetts, ca. mid 19th century. Pine top and bottom; ash side band. Joinery is with copper tacks, a feature seen in Eastern Massachusetts. The lid, with deep patina and tool marks making it resemble leather, exhibits a compass rose centered by a six-lobed flower, with extensive chip carving about the inner and outer perimeters. The underside of the lid is carved with a hex symbol inside a larger one. One side of the box is lightly engraved with the beginnings of what appears to be a two-headed sea creature. Good condition with thin dry over-varnish with some "bleached drip lines" and a small breakout at a lower nail. About 6 inches diameter x 2 3/4 inches tall. The patina is so rich that it must give a clue as to what the box stored, yet I can only speculate. A maritime box to be sure, and most likely carved by a sailor while at sea. .
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