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£POA

Silver mounted shell snuff box

Silver mounted shell snuff box
Silver mounted shell snuff box - Image 1Silver mounted shell snuff box - Image 2

Description

Silver mounted cowrie shell snuff box, unmarked probably Dutch ca 1730. The lid of the box is engraved with a country scene. The silver lid is gilt inside. Dutch traders brought the very expensive and highly collected shells from the East , mainly from the Indian Ocean and Indonesia.

The term porcelain derives from the old Italian term for the cowrie shell (porcellana) due to their similar translucent appearance.[1] Shells of certain species have historically been used as currency in several parts of the world, as well as being used, in the past and present, very extensively in jewellery, and for other decorative and ceremonial purposes.

The cowry was the shell most widely used worldwide as shell money. It is most abundant in the Indian Ocean, and was collected in the Maldive Islands, in Sri Lanka, along the Malabar coast, in Borneo and on other East Indian islands, and in various parts of the African coast from Ras Hafun to Mozambique. Cowry shell money was important at one time or another in the trade networks of Africa, South Asia, and East Asia.

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