Old, Primitive and Heavy

Lots of family stuff going on right now so I decided to take my mind off of it for a bit and do one of my favorite things…write a blog post! I had intended on going to a couple of estate sales this past week, but events conspired against me and I had to resign myself to a quick jaunt to my neighborhood Goodwill. I told myself that I couldn’t buy anything unless it was amazing. Absolutely amazing.

As I perused the shelves I picked up many a thing that five or six years ago I would have put in my basket…some kinda interesting handmade pottery and a cool, but overpriced, ashtray. But not now!

As I continued to roam the store it appeared it was going to be another empty-handed trip till I spotted this mortar and pestle in the metal aisle. Wham-o! Now this…this was good!


I will admit it is crudely fashioned, but in my books this also makes it more intriguing. Plus it is hecka heavy (particularly for such a small bowl) with the two pieces just shy of four pounds! And if I’m not mistaken, it has some age.


The interior bottom and the pestle end have corrosion which I am not touching. In fact this is definitely a no-polish piece!


I discovered that brass mortar and pestles tend to come in three style varieties: those with two handles or knobs on the side, those with no handles and very minimal decoration and those with no handles and embellishments commonly including three vertical bumps or ridges.

Mine was in the latter category. As I continued my research I was originally thinking my piece was from India but then I discovered two pictures of Spanish mortars (circa 1600-1700s) from two different auction houses (with in-house experts) that have a very similar look with the ridges and lined shell-like motif. They are about the same size and weight as well.

So at this point I’ve narrowed my piece down to: brass or bronze, likely Spanish, possibly 1800s or earlier. I’m going to dig around a bit more, but I’m thinking this was a good find!

How about you…any amazing finds this week?

As always, happy hunting,


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