Sewing box

Copenhagen(?), 18th century
Silver; length 15.5 cm
Inv. 1896.22.

4822px x 3797px
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Eight sections, building up from the smallest, overlap with enough free play to allow wriggling movements of the fish body. The head section is pushed under the fin on the fish's back and contains a thimble which fits over a screw cap doubling as a cotton spool. The compartment for needles has another small compartment half its width at the top, the function of which is as yet unknown. The case is said to have been won by an ancestor of the donor at a Swabian shooting contest. In that event the outer case in fine morocco leather must have been made later, or the initials JA.G., showing the fine gift to be the very personal property of a lady, added afterwards. Such silver fishes are documented as smelling salts containers and in popular use as talismans; in the C19 they are found as pendants and are now again available from India as small enamelled ornaments.

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