19th century silver Toothpick holder.
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Toothpick holder in solid silver representing a Neptune on his shell. The god is presented on a leafy support resting on a fine openwork base. The shell is pierced to allow for toothpicks. The whole is presented on a circular base resting on four lion legs.The use of toothpicks has been known since antiquity. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, they were made of metal and could be reused, but it was in Portugal in the 16th century that they became disposable. The congregation of Mosteiro de Lorvão used the wood of orange trees and exported their production of finely carved "palitos especiales" to Europe and the Americas. To present them on the table, toothpick holders were created, competing in finesse and inventiveness.
H:7.48in. (19 cm) ; l: 2.95in. (7,5 cm).
Eagle mark 915 for Portugal.
Master goldsmith hallmark
Portuguese work of the 19th century.