A very interesting and beautifully made object, made of bone. It is a small spoon with a long handle, which is carved in relief with a three-dimensional representation of a lizard. The body of the animal and its long tail have been incised with cross-hatches, representing the scales. The mouth and the front feet are resting on the edge of a small recessed circular bowl. The end of the handle has a pierced loop, holding a bronze ring for suspension.
It is somewhat difficult to pinpoint the area from which this spoon comes. It has been suggested by a previous owner that it might be Egyptian, and although the Egyptians did have implements like this that were three-dimensionally decorated (see for instance Guilhou 2009), and although lizard-like and crocodile-like creatures can sometimes be seen in Egyptian art, this object is stylistically quite different from what one should expect from Egypt. Specialists in the British Museum London have been able to determine that the spoon is Phoenician, and dates to circa the 6th-4th century B.C.
Nadine Guilhou, "Lézards et geckos dans l’Égypte ancienne", IVe Rencontres archéozoologiques de Lattes, UMR 5140 - CNRS, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier 3, 26 juin 2009.
Circa 6th-4th century B.C.
Length 10.8 cm.
Private collection; previously with Bonhams London, 16 May 2002, lot 329; previously in a UK private collection since at least the 1950s.
Intact. There is some roughness to the edge of the handle on the proper right hand side; some green staining on the handle; some normal surface wear and encrustation. A lovely little treasure!