Luxury Design, Past & Present
Antique 17th c. Italian Grand Tour porphyry stone urn form mortar and pestle with turned wood cover.
Porphyry was mined in Egypt 2,000 years ago and comes from a single source lost to history until the mid 19th century. Napoleon sent troops to search for the mine without success. The present example is, most likely, a relic from the ancient world repurposed in the 17th century as a Grand Tour ornament. Very heavy weight.
For a similar example see Christie's Sale 4062 - The Collection of Sandro & Lidia Orsi, Ca'Mera, Varese and Property from the Villa of an Aristocratic Lombard Family, 19 July 2012, London, South Kensington, Lot 151. Another mortar of similar shape is in the collections of the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The urn measures 7.5" diameter x 5" tall; the pestle measures 12" long.