This is the most mysterious set of salt and pepper shakers in my collection. I have no idea at all about what it’s supposed to represent. It appears to be a humanized creature of some sort holding a musical instrument. But what sort of creature? While it’s dressed like a human in what might be a jumpsuit, a vest, and a tie, it has wings like an insect–a fly or a wasp–and a beak like a bird. Also, it’s wearing a fez–does it then represent a member of some sort of service organization, like the Shriners? A bee or fly squad of some sort,maybe? the Marching Winged Nuts Band? The musical instrument is a sort of giant tuba, and its size seems disproportionate to the figure it accompanies.
But I’m fairly sure that the two pieces do actually go together, because the intense orangey-red colour of the giant tuba is the same as the creature’s fez, vest, and shoes; and in any case, the giant tuba nests nicely into the creature’s extended right arm, as if it were made to belong there.
So: what is it? some sort of allegorical representation of a popular saying or catch phrase I don’t recognize, something like “busy as a bee” or “blowing your own horn”? Something more arcane, maybe, like “Tuba or not to bee”? A representation of some long-forgotten tuba great named Wings Feston, or something like that? What ties together a tuba and a fez-wearing bird-or-bee-like thing? Who is this beaked stranger? I’d be grateful for any and all suggestions.