An unusual 18th century Mealey Beg or butter bowl with a handled cover turned from sycamore.
Fabulous colour and patina. Note the two X's on the lid and bowl, maybe where the original bayonet fixing was and the place to open but maybe the x was a symbol used toward off evil spirits......
It measures 15.5cm w x 12.5cm h
An antique treen Mealey Beg is another name for a two piece butter bowl Usually these Mealey Begs are turned from sycamore which was a wood used widely through the dairy industry as it did not taint food and was supposed to have antibacterial properties.
The Mealey Begs consisted of a butter bowl and lid and was used for a variety of functions. It was used to take samples of butter to market Also it was used for storing butter by fishermen and shepherds whilst they were away for long periods of time. These antique treen Mealey Begs, according to Edward Pinto's book on Treen and Other Wooden Bygones, were buried in the ground in peat or covered with stones to keep the butter cool when the shepherds were up in the high pasture land in the Summer for several weeks at a time.
Recently a very similar one came up at auction and was described as Welsh early 18th century from the Michael Nellist Collection. This one is a great example dating back to the 18th century, possibly the early 1700's.