Friday, April 11, 2014

Chinese Mystery Object with Bats


It has been a while since I posted a Mystery object.  I have tried to select one a little less obscure than before; these household objects are still in use, and have a practical function.

This is made out of wood, and is about three inches long. Other forms are common, but many still look like this, although perhaps without the decorative carving.




If you know or can guess what this is, please let me know in the comments. Comment Moderation will be turned on for this post. If your solution is correct, I will withhold it until the end, to allow others a chance to guess.

The answer will be revealed in a few days. Good luck!

32 comments:

  1. Hmm - whats the scale? is it a chopstick stand?

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    1. Hello Stefan, It's three inches long--I enlarged the photo to show the detail better. This is about the right size to adapt for a chopstick rest, although the painted and gilded finish might discourage this.

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  2. Mmmmmm, intriguing. I have no idea. Will tune in later to find out. Good one :-)
    Di
    X

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    1. Hello Diane, That is the fun of these old, strange objects--the way they keep you guessing.

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  3. Hello Jim - I thought the same as ArchitectDesign, so now I am stuck. I wonder if you wind thread around it? or may be it slots into another item like a window to keep it ajar but secure. Basically I have drawn a blank.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Rosemary, You are correct about it being a thread winder. I guess when several possibilities suggest themselves, it is hard to decide on just one.

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  4. Replies
    1. Hello Coulda Shoulda, What an interesting (and painful!) idea. Not quite correct, but this shares an aspect with its actual purpose.

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  5. Dearest Jim,
    Guess you possess a lovely antique Chinese silk thread winder... That's my humble guess at this object.
    Thanks for your always meaningful comments on my blog; revealing your thorough reading skills and broad knowledge.
    Happy weekend to you!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    Replies
    1. Hello Mariette, You are entirely correct with your identification. Because of your time spent in Asia, as well as your handiness with various crafts, I had a feeling you might get this one!

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  6. I love your mystery object, but find my imagination is so limited in this arena!

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    1. Hello Jen, All of your readers appreciate your imagination and creativity. You should see some of the objects I have for which the mystery seems permanent!

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  7. Well, Jim, I was really excited.....thought I knew the answer: chopstick rest. Until I read your response to Stefan's guess - boohoo! Hmmmm, I don't know and will be thinking about it all weekend. Looking forward!

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    1. Hello Loi, Here's another clue: This is very much a piece in which form follows function.

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  8. Hello Jim,

    Absolutely no idea! We only know that bats are symbolic of happiness or prosperity so this must be an object to bring joy of some kind. Whatever, we love it and want it NOW! Such a fabulous lipstick red and the shabby chic gilding is beautifully done. We should have it as an 'object d'art' and have our guests mull over its real function.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance, Unfortunately, most of my collection is put away, and very little is on display, but I agree with you that these objects need to be appreciated.

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  9. I love decorative objects, even if they are fully functional parts of a household.

    Too narrow to stand a glass on.

    But narrow enough for something long and thin. A pen holder?

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    1. Hello Hels, I agree with you about the appeal of utilitarian objects--they tell how life was lived in another place and time.

      There are many small stands, such as for chopsticks, pens or brushes, but this has a specific use.

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  10. Replies
    1. Hello, Silverinthebarn, That's a good one--it made me laugh!

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  11. Hello, Jim,

    I'm going to guess that this is a rest for calligraphy brushes. In any case, it is a lovely little artifact!

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    1. Hello Mark, No, not for brushes, although Chinese brush rests are wonderful and deserve a post of their own.

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  12. Your comment that it is a "household object" makes me think my suggestion:
    a decorative hairpiece
    is unlikely to be correct. My better half suggested a dumbbell - presumably for someone rather puny?

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    1. Hello Columnist, I can just see someone "adapting" this by gluing a hairclip to the back! Seriously, having to guess the function of objects shows how similar underlying forms can lead to different uses.

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  13. I love these Chinese items with bats--the WuFu was Bat Conservation International's original logo! I'm wondering if this is meant to be a shoe decoration?
    Thanks,
    Dianne

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    1. Hello Dianne, Not a shoe decoration, although you are right that it is the exact size and outline of a shoe buckle! Did you see my older post on bats?
      http://roadtoparnassus.blogspot.tw/2011/10/bats-terror-of-night-or-omen-of-good.html

      Thanks for mentioning Bat Conservation International--I will give the link when I post the solution in a couple of days. --Jim.

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  14. Replies
    1. Hello Jeronimus, Not a massager, although the Chinese versions come in endless varieties, and I could see this being pressed into service as one. --Jim

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  15. Replies
    1. Another great adaptation, especially if recast in metal. I don't think I've ever seen a wooden belt buckle!

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I would love to know what you think. Please feel free to comment--no tricky security words required! Any difficulties or questions, email at: clavicytherium@yahoo.com