Vintage Chinese Compass Hand Carved. Gorgeous patina craftsmanship and artistry with extensive detail with old wise man fawn deer, staff lucky bamboo carved into bone.
Piece measures approximately 3 ¼ inches and swivels open.
On the inside of this vintage compass are the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, carved in bone.
I was able to have some of the Chinese letters and symbols translated; one circle consists of the names of these animals:
Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Cock, Dog, Boar
The other is the animal's symbolism: Rat – charm, Ox - patient, Tiger - sensitive, Rabbit – articulate, Dragon - healthy, Snake - deep, Horse - popular, Goat - elegant, Monkey - clever, Rooster - deep thinkers, Dog - loyalty, and Pig - chivalrous.
Interior has a compass and Chinese symbols and flowers round the perimeter.
The back of this piece is signed.
The compass moves and seems to function.
Scrimshaw: Is the intricate decoration and carving of bone or ivory as of whales and walruses, done primarily by sailors on long voyages.
History: There are four guardians of the four compass directions which are celestial emblems of the Chinese emperor and each is associated with seven constellations.
Tortoise (Black Warrior) - North, Winter, Black, Water White Tiger (Kirin) - West, Fall, White, Metal Red Bird (Phoenix) - South, Summer, Red, Fire Dragon - East, Spring, Blue/Green, Wood
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