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Coconut Cup and Lid with Masonic Symbols
1780-1800
Maker not marked
Place made not marked
Coconut and wood
overall: 7-1/2"h x 4-5/8"dia.
Special Acquisitions Fund
78.25.1a-b

a: Carved coconut and wood cup with Masonic decoration; chip carved and incised designs include All-seeing eye, columns, square and compass, stars; shield with hand holding dagger; and oval-shaped surround containing the script letters B W B flanked by incised stylized tulip plants and birds; b: lid with carved knob.


From the 1500s on, as Europeans explored the world, consumers valued objects made from exotic materials available in faraway lands, such as coconut or seashell. Over time, with increased travel and trade, coconut seed—the once-rare material the body of this cup is made of—became less novel, but still carried an intriguing hint of the tropics. Crafted and decorated in an unknown location, this cup is ornamented with Masonic symbols.