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Hello all,  I need help identifying this item from an old house my wife and I are clearing out.  It is a metal (brass, I believe) hollow trinket (for lack of a better term), approximately 2 1/4 inches across at the widest point.  

There are no makers marks, names, numbers or any other engraving.

The indents on the top and the lobed crescent shape suggest leaves.  It came with a small tray with a shiny sawtooth surround.  The house was owned by a woman who spent some time in Japan in the late 60s and has a good deal of japanese art and netsukes and such within it, so perhaps this is Japanese in origin?

The two lateral sides of this object have a pinhole, but the pinholes don't line up, so it seems unlikely it was strung for some reason - the little tray also suggests it was placed.  The size and lack of obvious function makes me wonder if it was part of something larger, but there's no obvious sign of attachment.

Please take a look at the pictures and let me know if you have any thoughts.  I'm really curious what this might have been used for.


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Replies to This Discussion

Hum-mm, That is odd. Can't say I've seen one of those before. My only thought is perhaps this was a tray designed to hold small perfumes or possibly makeup in very small containers made to match the tray? 

Especially with Japan, or really Asian items in general, seems many of they're items do have "Very" specific purposes, soup to nuts for all sorts of things. 

Was it found near any other items? Or maybe whatever went with this tray is still in the house located elsewhere?  Sorry I couldn't be of much help.

I am wondering if the wear pattern on the bottom center tells a part of it's story?  Why would it wear like that sitting in a tray?

It looks like a stamp to me, try placing the thinnest layers of ink over the textured surface and see if it is textured enough to create a stamped pattern or if just creates a cloud shaped blob.  A highlighter pen often works well for testing metal stamps because it goes on thin, doesn't dry quickly on the surface and remains easy to clean off.

The holes could simply be the means by which the item was being held in place during its construction and now have no further purpose.

Have you ever seen a curved needle used to sew sacks?  A needle could be bent to exactly fit the distance and curvature of the pin holes.  Or, perhaps each end of the "string" would fit into each pin hole.

That said, I believe you have a "Gorget" (pronounced, gore-gay), pictured upside down. A type of necklace worn by men to protect their heart and throat when sword fighting. Native Americans also wore them, as did Spanish Conquistadores. Gorgets have evolved into a classy formal dress wear for men and women, including other forms of jewelry.

Those 3 egg-shaped dents could be the logo or hallmark of the maker. I saw the Antiques Roadshow this past Saturday (March 31, Portland) and they had 2 brass cup holders made in the 16th century, in China and each had identical marks.  I believe AR said they were the maker's marks...Those cup holders appraised for $8-10,000 each.  One can watch the AR on line. Search for PBS AR Portland.  (I don't know if it was Maine or Oregon).


I  went to PBS Portland AR Hour 1 and it's not there. I also checked St Louis Hr 1, and 3. I couldn't open Hr 2 which costs $60/year.  Am 95% certain the AR said they were maker's marks.

BTW, Portland was April 2nd, Monday, not Saturday Mar 31st. Therein lies my error. Where I live the AR is repeated on Saturday so it was probably St. Louis Hr 1,2 or 3 that I was watching. I'm just as confused as you are.  :)


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