Cigar Holder Music Box
13 x 7.5 x 7.5
This Italian music box‒still in perfect working order‒mechanically opens to reveal a cigar holder. The music box is made from fine porcelain, which is painted a vibrant green and decorated with traditional flowers. Once activated, a tune plays while the doors unwind to unveil a cheerful satyr figure and a collection of cigars. Additional satyr faces decorate the feet of the music box. In Greek mythology, satyrs are male nature deities, represented with horse-like tails and ears. Satyrs often have exaggerated, bestial features, with wild manes of hair, much like those represented here. These deities are naturally bawdy and are often accompanied by wine, music, dancing, and women. Smoking became an established male ritual throughout Europe during the 19th century and diverse, often beautifully rendered paraphernalia accompanied the smoking ritual, such as this masculine cigar holder. Wealthy men collected pipes, ashtrays, and holders, like this one, for their smoking rooms.
At this time in history Italy had just become a constitutional monarchy. However, Italy would soon after become a fascist state with the rise of their first dictator, Benito Mussolini (1883–1945).