This vintage hand-crank grinder is made of tamarisk wood, with hand-engraved silver melange adornment, hand carved camel bone embellishments, and numerous antique coins. Entirely handmade, this grinder was used by southern Morocco nomads while traveling and crossing the Sahara desert. We sourced the item from Zagora, Morocco, where the item has been handed down.
The coins are pounded but two are identifiable as a bronze/copper Moroccan falus, dating them to pre-1901, as this marked the end of falus production. The front of the grinder has a removable drawer, with two coins on each side, one of silver the other of copper. The front has rudimentary engraved silver designs, with additional silver rivet accents. Both sides of the grinder have decorative silver designs with brilliant red pieces of coral in the middle.
On the back, a large silver star is surrounded by four antique coins, the aforementioned falus. In the middle of the star there is a large malachite gemstone. The top is a combination of metalwork techniques: extensive embossed brass, hand-hammered by a native; repousse silver melange; and hand-beaded brass. Four triangles of camel bone are on each corner, carved with the traditional Moroccan evil eye. One side of the lid opens, and the brass handle turns easily.
Used for grinding coffee or spices, this objet d'art is still fully functional. This objet d'art is entirely handmade by native Moroccan Berber artisans. It is early to mid-20th century.