M. FORD CREECH ANTIQUES & FINE ARTS
FINE SILVER-MOUNTED CARVED LIGNUM VITAE GOBLET
England, 17th Century
The silver-rimmed cup-shaped bowl having various intricate horizontal bands of engine turnings,
raised on a short horizontally ribbed wrythen stem above a circular foot with further engine turnings;
the silver rim mount later, marks for Sheffield 1911, EWO & Co.
Lignum vitae – also known as "ironwood" and "tree of life" –
is regarded by most to be both the heaviest and hardest wood in the world.
This extremely hard, heavy, oily, wood has a feathered grain pattern with a distinct brownish olive color,
which takes an excellent and lustrous finish.
However, it is considered quite difficult to work, being best suited for turning on the lathe rather than cutting and joining.
It was first imported from the West Indies to Europe about 1515.
At that time, it was thought to cure venereal disease.
In England, beginning in 17th century Stuart period, lignum vitae was often used by "turners" as drinking vessel
s and mortars and pestles, as its high oil content makes it resistant to liquids.
Other uses have included rigging for ships, croquet mallets, skittles, and police clubs,
as the wood is not only water resistant, but quite strong
Unfortunately, Lignum Vitae has been exploited to the brink of extinction,
and is now an endangered species.
Condition : Excellent with normal wear for age and usage; repaired shrinkage crack; a rare example
4.25" High x 3-7/8" Diameter
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M. Ford Creech Antiques & Fine Arts / 581
South Perkins Road / Memphis,
TN 38117 / USA /
Wed.-Sat. 11-6, or by appointment