Although these elegant birds seem identical, slight differences in their structure and construction give indications as to how they were used. The hinged head of one of the birds pivots and reveals a shallow copper container which could have been used as a hearth for an incense-burner. The two pierced eyes would have then been the holes from which the smoke would drift. The second bird, with its head tightly screwed to the body and its finely pierced beak, is very likely to be a scent dropper.
A silver-gilt incense-burner bearing the tughra of Mahmud II from a private collection can be compared to our example by its structure and its very naturalistic aspect. In the shape of two acorns of which the nut is hinged and pivots above the body, it rises from a very similar parcel-gilt moulded and incised stand with foliage and fruits (Garo Kurkman, Ottoman Silvermarks, Istanbul, 1996, p. 188). However, these uncommon birds clearly stand out from contemporary production through their refined quality and originality.