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Beautiful Wooden Folk Art Tramp Box ~ early 1900’s
This is a beautiful tramp art box is created from graduating layers of different shades of wood. It has been had carved with notches along the edge of each layer. The sides have 8 layers and the top has 11.The inside of the box is lined with a gray fuzzy cloth. It appears that it may have has some pieces missing on the underside of the lid. Please see pictures for condition. This is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship!
One perspective on some of the history of tramp art is that the name originated from the old German and the carving was practiced by itinerant carvers as part of their moving to gain their craft trampen as part of their apprenticeship during medieval times. Although much of tramp art is anonymous work, there has been some history and written records of the carvers found. Another perspective is, this form of folk art, called "tramp art," was produced by these anonymous skilled artisans in the hobo jungles of the U.S. but was introduced in the early 1860s by the German and Scandinavian Wanderbuersons, or wandering apprentices. These men-the trampers-popularized chip carving as they traveled the U.S. in search of jobs or in the pursuit of the vagabond life. Chip carving had been used as a method of decorating wooden objects in Europe almost since the beginning of time. By using any sharp-edged tool, but most often a pocketknife, small chips of wood were removed from a larger piece to form geometric patterns. A simple V could be cut on the edge of a piece of wood, or an elaborate gouge covering a large surface could be used for more elaborate decoration. The availability of cigar-box wood was a major factor in the production of tramp art. In the 1850s, the wooden cigar box came into use both in the United States and Europe. In the hobo jungles, it became commonplace for the trampers to combine chip carving and whittling when using their pocketknife on cigar boxes. This technique of chip carving consisted of notching and layering, with each succeeding layer being a little smaller than the preceding one, to create a pyramidal design. One cigar box or many cigar boxes could be used for the frame of the piece as well as performing the decorative function. Either way, the carver had to have a great deal of time and patience to create his finished product. He had to notch-carve each individual piece of wood many times. Then he had to layer the individual notch-carved pieces of wood into some kind of recognizable object. And then he had to decide if he wanted to add further decorations to the piece. One of the most fascinating aspects of tramp art is the evident desire of the carver to produce detailed and often very skilled work with only make-do and simple tools. This layering of piece upon piece was done for decorative purposes, because it was felt that many layers of wood were more interesting-looking than just one layer.
Measures: 7 ½" W x 7 ½" L x 4 ½"
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Eileen and Russell Weiss, Grain Valley, MO
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