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Is this a mortar and pestle?

calmossimo | Feb 28, 201510:45 AM

I acquired this gargantuan vintage marble mortar and pestle type set, but it has this column in the middle of the bowl that I've never seen before and my preliminary searches on Google are not turning up anything. Is this actually a version of a mortar and pestle? Can anyone enlighten me on what this is and how it is used? Thanks in advance!

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