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Profusely Carved and Chip-Decorated Small Sliding Lid Box
Probably New England or Pennsylvania, ca. 1780-1820. Prominently features the FYLFOT as one of the carved pictorial elements. Although we don't know exactly what the fylfot symbolized, we know that it was important, beyond just decorative, and has been seen in both secular and sacred contexts. Research suggests it may represent the sun, energy, rebirth, and/or renewal. The fylfot is often seen on early New England and Pennsylvania decorative arts, and is frequently found on the relief-carved rosettes terminating the split-pediments of 18th century Connecticut furniture. The box also features stylized conjoined hearts, implying being made for a special occasion such as a wedding or anniversary. Carved from a single block (not joined) of dense hardwood, possibly maple or birch. Surprisingly heavy in hand. Retains original thin black paint, with traces of crackled over-varnish within some of the pictorial elements, perhaps used to highlight them. Indistinctly inscribed underneath the lid "This belonged to...given...." Although not more decipherable, it appears to show a hand-off to subsequent owners. The remarkable time and effort and precision shown in the carving suggests the box having been important to the maker. Just 9 inches long including the over-extending thumb piece x 3 wide x 2 3/4 tall. Exceptional condition and may be laid flat or stand on end.
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