This very old hand-carved marble mortar dates to circa 1800 and originally came from France. The original use of a mortar (when paired with a pestle) was to aid pharmacists in crushing herbs into powder for medicinal purposes. In France, they were also used in the kitchens of grand chateaux. The material used to construct a mortar and pestle is almost always a hard substance, such as marble or stone, which could stand up to the rigors of use. The mortar seen here was carved from an attractive cream-colored marble with subtle tan veining. Today, they are quite collectible, and mostly used as decorative bowls or accessories, although they can of course be used once again in the kitchen to grind spices.
CONDITION: Very good antique condition with minor losses and fleabites. Light wear to the interior of the bowl, commensurate with the grinding of herbs. The pestle is not included.