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tline3open  Marius Hammer mourning spoon

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Author Topic:   Marius Hammer mourning spoon
Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 05-18-2005 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[gone from the internet -]

This circa 1900 spoon is a curiosity from the shop of Marius Hammer in Norway. The form is fairly typical for Scandinavian souvenir/commemorative spoons of this period.

This example's bowl is inscribed with the Latin expression "Memento Mori" (or, "death memento"), although there are no specific names or dates.

The cast design of a female figure with children or putti, located at the base of the handle, actually slides up the handle to reveal that the base of the handle is hinged! The spoon folds in half, suggesting it might be a traveling spoon of some sort, although one couldn't really eat with this spoon due to the bowl size (and would somebody really want to use a mourning object to eat with?).

The spoon is marked 830S for silver content, along with both of Marius Hammer's trademarks. Its length is 6 1/4" (4 1/4" folded).

Does anybody have any input about the purpose of this strange spoon?

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iconnumber posted 05-18-2005 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps it was intended only as a reproduction of an earlier piece.

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iconnumber posted 05-18-2005 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've always taken the Latin motto "Memento Mori" which translates more literally to "Remember to Die" or "Remember Mortality", to be more about enjoying today, for tomorrow you may be gone. I know the more common use of the term is for "momentos of death", like those creepy Victorian photographs of the dead or mourning jewelry, but think that in this case, Stuart's probably right about it being made to resemble an earlier spoon. I believe the basic form, with large engraved commemorative bowls and slender stems with a fancy finial has been produced in the Scandinavian countries since the mid-1700s.

Perhaps this is a travel tea caddy spoon? I've run across a few Continental folding caddy spoons, but with a shorter, wider handles. Regardless, it's a very nice and interesting piece.

Cheryl ;o)

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iconnumber posted 05-18-2005 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is an interesting spoon. Perhaps its purpose was for religious use, for baptisms or annointings. Folding would make it easier to carry in the case of a traveling cleric. The memento mori would refer to the reason it was given to the pastor.

[This message has been edited by Dale (edited 05-18-2005).]

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iconnumber posted 05-18-2005 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In past Centuries it was common practice for spoons to be given as remembrances to participants in funerals, and folding spoons were often carried by travellers for their own use before place settings were in common use by innkeepers and/or hosts. While I have never seen a travelling spoon so marked, this spoon could well have been intended as a representation of a spoon of this type in a museum or private collection.

Incidentally, spoons of this shape (fig-shaped bowls, slender stems, and decorative terminals of various designs) have been made since the 1500's or earlier. A number of these are illustrated in Old Danish Silver.

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 05-18-2005).]

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