Nutcracker in bronze and gold foil
Taranto, Contrada Rondinella, tomb IV | Late 4th - early 3rd century B.C.
This peculiar specimen of a nutcracker is a realistic representation of two female forearms, embellished at the wrists by spiral bracelets with snake protomes, and elegant hands clasped together as if they are compressing something. The two hands can be separated by pressing a hinge placed between the palms. Originally a handle was fixed at the base of the forearms through quadrangular pins. Besides having a practical use as a table tool, in the funerary context this object may also have had a ritual or symbolic meaning whose interpretation still remains unclear.