This small bronze mortar and pestle are from 19th century France. The outside of the mortar has been adorned with mascarons and geometric patterns that rise from chased sides. The pestle has segments separated by recessed reeding and raised discs.
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.
CONDITION: Very good antique condition with wear commensurate to age and use. Slight oxidation to mortar with trace elements on the pestle.