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My Strange Box

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Trevanion

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I mentioned in another thread that I had a strange little box with Swastikas on it and that I'd dig it out, so here it is:



















I've really only kept it because it's a strange little item I inherited from a family member many years ago and that the veneering was very fine and quite well done as you can see from the photo with the penny for scale. I assume it's some kind of writing box and there would've been a thin pigskin over the oriental lettering as well as another piece of wood bridging over where the well is in the middle hence the little paper hinges. No idea on provenance but I thought you fellas might find it interesting.

Might give it a clean and a light restore one day, but probably not.
 

Ollie78

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That is a neat box, its quite random, I wonder if it was an apprentice or practice thing.
The swastika was common in India but it was the other way around. I am sure it was developed all over the world as a common geometric thing.

Ollie
 

Braddersmd

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"Swastika" was "stolen" by the socialists in pre 2nd world war Germany. It features heavily in mid and far east - both ways round. It's an ancient religious emblem.

I first saw it "out of the modern norm" on a temple on the way from Taoyuan airport Taiwan, to downtown Taipei. Came as a shock until I did a bit of research.
 

bjm

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I suspect they probably just thought they were nice patterns rather than anything else? Nice box though.
 

mrpercysnodgrass

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That is a nice little writing slope/lap desk. Judging by the inlay I would say it was probably made around 1880-1920 and at the lower end of quality for this kind of piece (sorry, don't mean to offend) You are right about there being another piece of wood covering the well. the paper hinges were a way of lining up the two pieces, the hinge would have been the material glued over the two with an extra piece of cotton over the join over which could have been baize, leather velvet or silk, I think it probable yours was baize and each piece of the top would have had a simple flat moulding around the perimeter. Below is what one will look like with the interior complete.
 

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Just4Fun

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I suspect they probably just thought they were nice patterns rather than anything else?
If it were me making such a box (not that I have/could/would) the design would have the advantage of only requiring straight line cuts. I rarely tackle anything, in any form of woodwork, that incorporates curves, which I always think demonstrate a far higher skill level that I possess. Perhaps the box maker wanted to stick to straight lines for a similar reason.
 

Benchwayze

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PE2 Dave

I think you'll find it's the Iron Cross which looks like the Maltese Cross. Not an exact match but near enough. I believe the swastika which we know was used in the Far East, by various religious groups for whom it signified peace. It was displayed upright and not on the skew, as per Hitler and Co.

John
 

Orraloon

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I was in Vietnam a few years ago and an Americian started giving the tour guide grief about a swastika on the chest of a statue of the buddha. The poor tour guide tried explaining that as the religion came from India the symbol had nothing to do with the nazi period. The Americian was still angry and then the poor guide topped it off by saying it was a very ancient Aryan symbol. The ill informed tourist stormed off back to the bus.
Anyhow the box may be Japanese so buddhist symbol would not be out of place.
Regards
John
 
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