Omg! This is amazing!!
Is there any evidence of the box having had a central internal ‘mushroom shaped’ stand? I have certainly seen similarly shaped boxes, with stands, used to store and protect ‘full bottomed’ wigs, the kind worn by judges that hang down the shoulders. For an example:http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/largerimage.php?mkey=mw178205&firstRun=true&deceased=Y&name=&gender=&search=as&desc=&grp=&occ=23;Law&submitSearchTerm_x=34&submitSearchTerm_y=11&submitSearchTerm=Search+Now&lDate=&page=1&LinkID=mp00094&role=sit&rNo=5
I continue to think about the box and have not come up with a single idea as to its use.1. Are there any markings on the bottom?2. Does the inside have any odor, like spices? 3. Is the inside of the bottom totally flat or are there signs of former fittings like a lip or an edge, screw hole marks, for a jewelry tray?
To answer some of your questions:There is not evidence of any missing interior fittings. It's shape would seem to fit most naturally a pith helmet, but there is also a lot of space under the area that a pith helmet would fill, so the idea of a barrister's wig would make a little sense, but again, no internal fittings or evidence of such. It does have a spicy, wonderful aroma inside, like pipe smoke and exotic places, but it seems an odd vessel for spices. No interior tray, or ledge for one. If it held jewelry, it was some pretty magnificent, massive jewelry. It's a least 15" tall.
I suppose it could be a large spice (or tea) container for a retail vendor -- the domed top is similar to the old black tins that were used by Marriage Frères and was replicated in the shape of the smaller tins they sold retail. (For those into tea, Marriage certainly used to be by far the best Lapsang generally available.)
I saw something similar the other day with a slightly different shape and it held a top hat... don't know if that gets to the bottom of anything though.
It is clearly a box in which to safely, painlessly transport one's porcupine. Failing that, it seems like a rather winsome hat box for a pith helmet. And there's an old Raj-era pith helmet for sale at the local antique shop here in the little hill station of Mussourie, India, if you're in the market for one. Just putting that out there.
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