Hellenistic Silver Spoon with Swan-Head Finial


A fine Hellenistic silver spoon featuring a flat body with a slightly raised rim and a long square-sectioned handle. The handle enriches the piece by curling upwards into a small loop with a swan-head finial. The swan displays naturalistically rendered facial features such as the eyes and beak.

Date: Circa 2nd-1st Century BC
Provenance: Ex property of a London gentleman; previously acquired on the UK art market in the 1990s; formerly in a 1980s collection.
Condition: Fine condition, some signs of ageing to the surface.


SKU: MG-150 Category: Tags: ,

Although there is not definite date attributed to the invention of cutlery, the earliest evidences of spoon-shaped utensils, such as shells, stones and chips of woods, date to the Palaeolithic period. Spoons with the conventional handle have been found in Ancient Egypt dating as early as 1000 BC. While Egyptian spoons with elaborate designs were mostly used for ceremonial purposes and rituals, decorative spoons, such as this piece, were common among Ancient Greek and Roman tableware. Mostly made of silver, Greek and Roman cutlery display a long tradition of zoomorphic decorations. Swans, Κύκνος (cycnos) in Greek, were sacred to Aphrodite and Apollo, and appears often in Greek mythology. Possibly the most well known example is the myth of Leda, seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan. From their union, the beautiful Helen and Polydeuces were born.


Weight 42.1 g
Dimensions L 18.1 x W 4 cm



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