Thank you peter for your comment on my previous question, it is undoubtedly a brush holder. I found one that looks a bit like it but of better quality and from japan. It can be seen with the folowing link. www.flickr.com/photos/silkroadcollection/4287002986/
I did not insert a photo of the bottom because there is no marking but i will add it now. I can't tell if it is japanese or chinese as for the date I can only speculate that it could be from the 19th century as it seems to be of a certain age ,there are many very fine cracks all over the object.