An enamelled Tibetan sliver claw back scratcher with bat and lion motifs

A very rare and unusual piece.

We believe this is Tibetan silver but is untested so is sold as silver tone metal.

The piece has beautiful enamelled polychrome bat and lion head motifs.

We have not been able to find out much about this exquisite piece so please do satisfy yourself (there is some interesting information about back scratchers: please see below*).

The piece has wear and losses commensurate with age and use but will be a most unusual, standout addition to any collection.


All approximate

23cm length

9cm width

*Back scratchers through history:

Among the first backscratchers were those used by the Inuit and carved from whale teeth. Backscratchers were also observed to have developed separately in many other areas, such as ancient China, where Chinese farmers occasionally used backscratchers as a tool to check livestock for fleas and ticks. However, in recent history it was unquestionably also employed as a kind of rake to keep in order the huge "heads" of powdered hair worn by ladies in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the past, backscratchers were often highly decorated, and hung from the waist as accessories, with the more elaborate examples being silver-mounted, or in rare instances with an ivory carved hand with rings on its fingers. The scratching hand was sometimes replaced by a rake or a bird's talon. Generally, the hand could represent either a left or right hand, but the Chinese variety usually bore a right hand.

Although not specifically used for only back scratching, young Chiricahua men in training and women going through a puberty ritual traditionally had to use a ceremonial wooden scratcher made from a fruit bearing tree instead of scratching with their fingernails or hands. Young men who did not use the scratcher for scratching were reported to develop skin that was too soft.


Where there are specific points to note we will detail these as far as possible but please be aware that all our items have wear commensurate with age and are as seen in the photographs. If you require any specific information please do not hesitate to get in contact.

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