Length: 257.000 mm
Weight: 130.990 g
Room 41: Europe AD 300-1100
Silver spoon from the first Cyprus treasure
Byzantine, around AD
Found on the ancient site of Lambousa, Cyprus
A spoon with a ram on the bowl
This spoon formed part of the first hoard of silver found at Lambousa in Cyprus, near the modern village of Lapithos. Other items from the treasure are a silver bowl with a bust of a military saint and a hexagonal censer.
This spoon was one of a set of eleven from the Treasure, all decorated with leaping animals. All have pear-shaped bowls, engraved on the underside with a foliate pattern, and attached by means of a disc to an elaborate baluster handle. This example is embossed with the figure of a running ram. The other animals are a griffin, panther, lion, lioness, stag, bear, boar, bull, hare and horse. This combination of animals probably alluded to the hunt, and would have been an entertaining and appropriate subject for high-status domestic cutlery.
The tradition of decorating the spoons of bowls with floral patterns, inscriptions, and occasionally animals, goes back to the fourth and fifth centuries AD, but none of the earlier examples have such beautiful detail.
J.P.C. Kent and K.S. Painter (eds.), Wealth of the Roman world, AD (London, The British Museum Press, 1977)