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ive just bought this unusual intriguing piece. I am assuming it is pumice as it is very light. I have not been able to find out anything with regards to pumice carving. It has a label on the bottom that is very worn I can pick out a word celafu which is a volcanic island off of Sicily and hope this might hold a clue. It’s 6 inches high at most. Thank you.
Pumice is #1 on Moh's scale of hardness. Diamond is #10. Pumice floats. Can be purchased at plumbing/hardware stores and used to remove stains from sinks, tubs and toilet bowls. Doesn't scratch the porcelain.
Carving pumice is easier than cutting soft butter, however too much pressure and it will crumble.
Yes thank you for your comments. I think it’s safe to say the only thing we do know for certain is that it is pumice or a derivative there is another type that doesn’t sink readily although the name escapes me. I can only think that it has come from somewhere volcanic with plentiful supply. The actual subject matter looks South Pacific but again this is a guess. It become a brain teaser I shall keep researching.
It reminds me of Easter Island statues but none of them or other "totem-monolithic-type" heads have their mouths open. Then you add the "plumage" or "fingers" behind it and it is really unique. Pumice, which is a byproduct of volcanic eruptions anyway, seems like a very safe bet. Because it does seem South Pacific, perhaps the script underneath is just telling someone where they are, where they were, or where they are going?
Either way, I shall keep searching with you...Happy Friday.
I think it is a tourist carving for visitors to Celafu Italy. Middle line looks like "incazio a mano" - carved by hand, "Celafu" as you already saw. If you can figure out the top and bottom line (maybe a signature or description) you will find out about as much as you can. Doesn't look especially old, so maybe you can check out Celafu and find similar items in the tourist shops the next time you take a vacation to Italy :)
It is Cefalù, if you wish to do a search for it.
Thank you Jeff you are a genius. The detectives are closing in. I have emailed the Museo mandralisca dealing with antiquities and regional artefacts on the Island in hope that somebody will have further information. I did find a souvenir shop dealing with curios but there site an error message so not sure if they will get my request. I will post my findings.