While visiting a friend the other day, he showed me a very strange clay bowl. The bowl came with the house, which he rents. The owner does not know/recall the purpose of the bowl, nor have any guests been able to produce a convincing answer. More details and a drawing follow.
The bowl is designed like this: it is the size of a standard cereal bowl (about 6" diameter), but with taller sides (about 4"). The bowl has a lid with a handle and a series of vents. At the bottom of the bowl is a hole, approximately 1/2" diameter. Surrounding the base of the bowl is a moat. Immediately in front of the hole in the bowl, the outer wall of the moat is pushed downwards to form a spout.
The bowl is of superb craftsmanship and nicely glazed, and has been signed by the artist on the bottom. However, the signature is abstract enough to not be entirely legible.
Neither of us were able to come up with a good solution to what the bowl would be purposed for. The bowl would be unsuitable for holding anything liquid, as it would simply pour out onto the table. One hypothesis resulting from the top vents and hole at the bottom would be something relating to burning, but inside of the bowl is free of any indicators of combustion. Or perhaps it is a thought experiment?
I did not remember to photograph it, but I remember it well enough to have composed a rudimentary drawing. Here.
Has anyone encountered such an object before? Perhaps there is an obvious use here that we are overlooking.