What is this camel statuette?
September 21, 2019 4:20 PM   Subscribe

My wife got this bronze/brass camel statuette at a thift store today. Can you help me learn more about it? (more inside)

Details: it's about 5 inches long, about the same height. It's heavy when you hold it. There is a hatch that opens to a hole - not sure what it's for. "Syria" is etched into the bottom as shown in the photos above.

1. What was this used for? Could it be an inkwell? Candle holder?
2. How can I tell if it's brass or bronze?
3. Any way to date it?

posted by Ike_Arumba to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
I think it’s an inkwell. Google camel inkwell and you’ll see similar (but fancier) versions.
posted by frumiousb at 4:23 PM on September 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

It looks like an incense burner to me. Used with chunk or cone incense not sticks. Here is one on eBay that looks pretty close.
posted by BoscosMom at 4:45 PM on September 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

My immediate thought is that it looks like an ashtray, similar to the brass crab ashtrays that were popular mid–last century. But I'm finding no Google results for anything similar.
posted by limeonaire at 4:59 PM on September 21, 2019

Brass vs Bronze -- probably brass.

And I think frumiousb has it: camel inkwell via Duck Duck Go seems like there are many similar flip-back camels listed as inkwells, though also some listed as incense burners. Seems too small to be suitable as an ashtray, and doesn't seem to have the cigarette indentations as seen in the rabs and most ashtrays.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:29 PM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I say not an inkwell. The other examples are laying down but this standing one would be likely to tip over while dipping your pen. I say incense burner - I think it has an 80s head shop vibe.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:36 AM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

My vote is purely object d'art -- it is designed to look functional, but it was cheaply made and the functional look is just to add to the decorative purpose.
posted by AzraelBrown at 10:32 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

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