This highly detailed bronze mortar and pestle are from 17th century France. The mortar has been engraved with a plethora of foliate designs: just beneath the lip is a series of repeating leaves; beneath this are some scrolling branches and interlacing; the base of the mortar has triangular and roundel elements. On the front center of the mortar, is a cartouche, with a stylized cursive letter “D”, possibly indicating the primary use of this particular mortar. The mortar comes with its original pestle, and it is also decorated in repeating foliate leaves and geometric patterns.
The original use of a mortar and 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. Today, they are quite collectible, and although they can still be used in the kitchen for grinding spices, they are mostly used as decorative bowls or accessories. This mortar has a nice patina which shows its age well, but is still in very good condition.
CONDITION: Wear commensurate to age and use. Faded elements on the pestle with minor nicks.