It was suggested to me when I purchased this that it was a piece of trench art, and I think that it likely, with the canister made from a shell casing and the little chopping man cut from from some scrap. In any case, it's certainly it's own special folk art thing, and I really love this smiling but very focused looking fellow very intent on the task at hand, which looks to me to be splitting a piece of wood. Incised on both sides, and serving as a handle of sorts, that flat appears to cut right through a slit in the vessel/casing, coming in about a quarter of an inch on the inside, as visible when viewed from above. My guess is that this was meant to serve as a match holder (for wooden matches of course!), though, aptly, one could also stick a candle in it.
3" widest x 2 3/8" tall; vessel is 1 5/8" in diameter. Very good overall condition, with light wear and a bit of rusting to the brass, magnified in photos.