A large wooden bowl, measuring 25 1/4" in extreme length, and 21" across the waist, and 3 3/4" high, weighing 7 pounds, hand made, with chiseling marks, and fern-like fine design carved neatly into the points. When I first encountered this unusual item, I thought the origin possibly Native American from Canada or the northeastern USA, or, at least American folk art origin. I thought the design element to be rather delicate for African origin, but didn't rule that out. I thought the wood was maple, or walnut. Internet research led to a September 2003 auction of a similar looking bowl at Cowans auction in Ohio. Further research (sending emails to Sotheby's, Christie's, Cowans (Cincinnati), and Pook and Pook (Pennsylvania) elicited generally responses to the effect that this was most likely not of North American origin, but even the specialists were not able to definitively say where it was made.
Two old long major cracks have been carefully repaired/reinforced with metal strips, as shown in the photos. Also, there is some remnant of old red paint on the side and also a bit inside the bowl.
Found in New York City, this piece is a mystery, but it has great character and obvious age and craftsmanship. As a table centerpiece holding fruit or nuts, it would make for a real conversation piece.
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