Spoons are an invention of great antiquity, perhaps developing from shells used to scoop up food. Spoons were frequently made in matching sets of twelve and were used as tableware in the houses of the wealthy. The silver spoon is an elegant and restrained example created during the later Roman Empire. An egg-shaped bowl is attached to the long tapering handle by a curving volute. Two simple incised parallel lines embellish the flat rectangular lower part of the handle; a triple-knobbed collar forms the transition between the two sections of the handle.
Artist Roman
  • Spoon
Date 4th century CE
Medium silver
Dimensions Overall: 6 1/4 × 1 × 5/8 inches (15.9 × 2.5 × 1.6 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds from Lillian Henkel Haass
Accession Number 50.86
Department Greco-Roman and Ancient European
On View Ancient Greek and Roman S201, Level 2 (see map)
(Spink and Sons Ltd. [est. 1666], London, England);
1950-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Henshaw, Julia P., ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 119 (ill.).