Straight off I should say that I love a mystery. Puzzles and riddles too. I especially like them when they are connected to real objects. I’m not sure why. Maybe it is a quest for small truths. Or just intellectual curiosity. Maybe it is wanting to discover the secret clues to how each small part of the story fits together as the whole.
Or maybe – wait, I think I am doing it now – the mystery of the mysteries! Aaagh! Well, I guess I do fit my sometime nickname of “Mr. Theory”.
Anyway – here’s one I have been thinking about. If you like this kind of thing then enjoy – and feel free to speculate or poke holes in my theory. If you don’t – well, it’ll probably bore you to tears and you might want to stop now – but take a look anyway, because maybe you have some ideas about this…
Item: Mystery Wooden Thing
Known History: Not much. The woman at the store didn’t know anything about it, but said she bought it because she really liked how it looked and felt in her hand. I agreed and ponied up.
Front View: (Hand included for scale…)
Detail View of Bracket:
Features I’ve noticed:
Faceted, rather than true curve on outside.
Thickness varies somewhat – not uniform.
Strange square insert in back – could be cut off tenon or just a patch.
Bracket opening at bottom (just feels like bottom…) shows wear pattern on inside.
Besides rosette, there are fainter decorative lines carved on the bracket.
It had a purpose. Seems overly complex to just be a “doodle”.
It was handmade. Way too much character for anything else.
Something went through that bracket – a cord maybe? Functions like a pulley?
Why the square mortice? Wouldn’t boring a round mortice be faster? I can think of two reasons. First, if this was used as some sort of pulley it would need to resist pivoting back and forth from the friction of the cord being pulled through it. Square mortice and tenon clearly better here. Second, maybe he/she didn’t have an auger big enough, or even a brace. Could this thing be entirely carved with a knife?
One of a kind, or a lone wanderer from a set?
What type of wood is it?
Okay, time to take a crack at it.
Here’s what I think: It is a pulley or bracket that was hung on the wall by way of the square mortice, now plugged by the tenon cut off when it was salvaged, and it’s use was somehow connected to window treatments. Handmade by the owner.
Tons. Primarily, that the “cut off tenon” is very smooth and has similar surface quality to rest of piece – does not look like a recent salvage job…
I don’t know what it is but I think it is a great example of how form might follow function, yet is not tied to it. I don’t know the function, but I really appreciate and love the form. Someone put a lot of time and energy into making this, and I love it for its form alone – I just wish I knew more about it. Any ideas?