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What is this object please

Purchased as a salt shaker. Appears to be too ornate for that use. Salt shaker or pounce pot or pepper pot or talc pot?
What are your opinions please. C size battery for scale. Marked sterling

I’d go with salt shaker. It looks far too modern to be a pounce pot, and I think the holes are probably too small for that too.


Thanks Phil
The ornateness of it had me a bit confused :blush:

It doesn’t look very practical…

It’s rather top heavy even empty Does not look to have ever had a base weight. Maybe it will just be okay as a nice shiny thing. It cost me melt value so ah well

You may have a Jewish spice box – besamim.

I googled and found a Besamim flower with the same type of stand as yours for sale in a Jerusalem shop.

I think jglw has got the answer. It’s not something I would have thought of…


Any marks?

Could you share a photo of the top showing the “holes”?

The number of holes seems a bit low but otherwise I think you are right. Maybe the idea is to shake it so the contents can rest in the channel formed by the petals ?

Uploading: image.jpg…
Found this for sale in a judaica online shop

Thanks very much. Your advice is spot on and I would never have known or even though of this
Thanks again. Michael

The item is not designed as a shaker but as a spice container to emit a good odour to overcome bad odours.

The purpose of the besamim is to cheer us up from the loss of our “extra souls” ( neshama yetaira ) which depart at the conclusion of Shabbat (Rashbam to Talmud Pesachim 102b).

Just about any naturally-occurring aromatic object may be used for this.

I note the word “Sterling” and under that the number 825.


Thank you. It’s turned out to be much more interesting than a salt cellar :blush: