While wood carving has been popular all over the world, it flourished in Northern Europe where soft, easily cut wood is plentiful. The type of chip or gouge work called Frisian carving originated in Germany. It is characterized by carefully executed incisions organized into attractive geometric patterns, usually covering the entire surface of an object. This technique traveled throughout Europe and eventually migrated to North America. The earliest mention of the term "tramp art" in print was in 1959. In 1975, the Museum of American Folk Art presented "Tramp Art", a ground-breaking exhibition which fostered recognition of this intriguing part of the American cultural heritage as a highly significant folk idiom.
This wonderful antique tramp art box is an extraordinary example of the genre, in a rare and unusual shape mounted on a carved pedestal. This beautifully crafted piece has a 12 layer double pyramid lid, seven layers on sides, and 8 layers on the pedestal base. It dates back to the 1800s and is in remarkable condition with only two or three chips to the carving. The lid has become detached from the base over time, but it displays beautifully. Measures 8 1/2" tall x 10 1/2" x 8". A collector's dream.