Antique Painted Firkin - Great Country Primitive Painted Wooden Firking
G. Cassia— Ground Spice Large Olive Green Painted Spice Firkin
Circa 1870-1890: This truly unusual original mustard and green paint decorated 19th century firkin was used to store ground (or as the script on the bottom of the lid documents, "pulverized") cassia bark, also known as Chinese Cinnamon, an aromatic spice similar to and often used in conjunction with cinnamon. Cassia is used to flavor many dishes, but it is an especially popular ingredient in liquer and chocolate recipes. Standing nearly 12" tall not including the handle and measuring 11 1/2" in diameter at the top and just over a foot at the bottom, this large firkin was most certainly a mercantile piece from a general store, bakery, or confectionary because only a commercial enterprise would need to carry cassia in such abundance, thus making the spice bucket's highly exotic painted moniker extremely rare.
Constructed of wooden staves and pegs, bentwood handle and lap joints, and both square and round nails (some nails added later), this wonderful 19th century firkin, shows only expected wear from age and use such as wear on one lap joint, additional or replaced nails, a few nicks, minor age splitting on the lid, and normal paint wear. These issues do not impact the firkin's structural integrity and merely lend creedence to its originality and the age of its creation. With a wonderfully painted and scripted label, an antique American painted firkin of this size and scarcity is among the best of its class and will be the centerpiece of any collection of antique painted woodenware, country store items, folk art, Americana, or primitive country antiques.
Provenance: Ex Skinner Auctions