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Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Reference: S1773
Period: Victorian
Year: 1853-1862
Silversmith: MJG
Place: Porto
Price: $ 1 650.00
Weight: 362 grams
Dimensions: 18.2 cm height, base 10.4 cm
Condition: Excellent. Figure secure, four feet stands nicely on table. Very small tear from piece at tip of conical hat.

Description: An interesting and decorative Portuguese silver toothpick holder, made in Porto between 1853 and 1862 by the unidentified maker MJG. The holder consists of a well dressed Chinese figure holding the vase shaped toothpick holder, standing on a ornamental pedestal, with 4 applied silver plaques, the pedestal standing on 4 cast silver scrolling feet. The Chinese figure wears an 8 sided conical hat, a flowing robe with engraved leaf decoration, baggy pants and pointed heeled shoes. The pedestal has a crenulated top, the sides with oval piercings and pierced dots nearer the base. The four plaques (attached with silver nut) consist of 2 Chinese pagodas, a bearded Chinese figue sitting crossed legged, and a European figure holding a conical object with a plume, we guess a fire plume (all assistance welcome!). The square cast base also has a patterned rim. This is a very well made cast item, pleasing gauge, and clearly made by a master silversmith. The hallmarks include makers mark MJG with beaded border, this maker is listed as unidentified by Almeida, in the book "Inventario de Marcas de Pratas Portuguesas e Brasileiras do Seculo, 1887, PG 478". This maker appears to have specialised in figural toothpick holders, including a pair featuring Neptune standing on a dolphin sold at Christies, lot 190, November 2012, which sold for GBP 6250. the second mark is the letter P beneath crown in heart shaped outline, the Porto city mark used between 1853 and 1862. zig-zag assay scrape is also present. Disposable wooden toothpicks were introduced in the early 19th century, figural holders to display the toothpicks on the table became popular in Continental Europe, particularly in Portugal, Brazil and Italy. The ASCAS silver website has an article entitled "Silver Figural Toothpick Holders of the 19th Century" by Giorgio Busetto, which shows numerous examples including Neptune, a Chinaman, and various other figures. the Casa-Museu Fundacao Medeiros e Almeida museum in Lisbon has a collection of 80 Portuguese silver toothpick holders.
Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Antique Portuguese Silver Toothpick holder - Oporto, Chinese figure

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Portuguese silver Chinaman - toothpick holder

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Silver Chinese figure toothpick holder

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Silver Chinese face

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Portuguese silver toothpick holder - back

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Antique silver base and boots

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Silver plaque - man holding fire

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Silver plaque - pagoda

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Silver plaque - seated man

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Cast silver foot - detail

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Cast silver base - Portuguese tooth pick holder

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Porto or Oporto silver hallmark - Crowned P, silver assay scrape

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
MJG makers mark - Porto, Portuguese silver

Portuguese Antique Silver Toothpick Holder - Porto, Chinese Figure
Portuguese silver toothpick holder, Porto - scale

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