c1860 elaborately carved floral Canton bone needle case

Made in Canton, China during the middle of the 19th century, this bone (most likely ox or cow) needle case is completely covered with finely handcarved, raised floral motifs and geometric borders. At 2-1/16 inches long and 5/8 inch across, the case may have originally held bone netting tools rather than needles. Very likely this was part of a set of tools produced for export to England and America.

The condition is very good overall; the flower carvings are still sharply cut (not worn down at all). There is a small band of slight discoloration (the bone is a darker beige) measuring about 1/8 by 1/2 inch near the bottom edge. The areas of minor damage are difficult to see without magnification: the flat edge of the case bottom has a worn edge where it meets the discolored area and the cap has two tiny nicks along the top edge. There is a small vertical crack on the cap on the side, just under the slight protruding top edge of the cap.

The screw-type closure is in excellent shape and the case closes easily and securely.