by Wayne Bednersh

The spoons shown here are souvenir spoons which were made as copies or were inspired by Renaissance spoons made in Bergen (Norway) in the 1500-1600 time period.

The rules for baptism vary from one religion to another and there are differences between an infant baptism and an adult baptism.

I have only a limited interest in this subject, so I will refrain from describing the various religious rituals that are involved and I can't tell from these spoons as to whether they were used for infant or adult baptism. Furthermore there is a lot of symbolism in these spoons and I am not familiar with all the details, so if someone else wants to elaborate, let me know.

Nevertheless, these are some very spectacular spoons  in terms of workmanship and I wanted to share them with you.

norwegian and danish baptism spoons

The quarter is to show relative size

Marius Hammer spoons

Marius Hammer is one of the two most famous Norwegian silversmith companies. It traces its ancestry to 1847 and was dissolved about 1927. Bergen was home to a number of very fine silversmiths and we have a lot of stunning spoons from this city.

At the finial of this beautiful gold washed spoon we have a naked cast man wearing a helmet with a downward pointing sword in his left hand and a fig leaf covering his genitals which is held by his right hand. I am guessing  that  this is supposed to be King  Olaf  l.

The front of the bowl has an elaborate engraving of a crowned queen holding a naked child. The child is holding a round orb with a cross on top. Above the bowl is a mask.
The round orb with a cross often symbolizes the monarch's role as 'Defender of the Faith'.

The back of the bowl has a seated bearded  patriarch with a hat that has a cross protruding from it and he is  holding a cross with a Jesus figure nailed to it. This figure looks quite different than our currently accepted figure of Jesus. Above the man is a bird in flight. There is lettering around the outside of the bowl. The Hammer mark is just above the bird.

The quality of the engraving on this piece is extremely good.

On this gold washed piece we have a man with a staff holding a child on his left shoulder who is holding an orb.. One guess is that this is St. Christopher who is carrying the baby Jesus. However, St. Christopher wasn't born until the
3rd Century AD so the chronology  doesn't make sense. Another guess is that it might be Moses, but I haven't figured that out either. Do you have any guesses?

The front is an elaborately engraved (very good quality-- much better than the photo) picture of  the Virgin Mary holding a child, both of whom have rays coming from their head. Near the bottom is a "wise man" on a donkey holding the child's hand. A church like building is in the background and there is a ribbon above the figures (which I suspect was supposed to be engraved with somebody's name).

The fine engraving is also on the back with what looks like two winged objects and a lot of background. The M. Hammer mark can be seen where the stem joins with the bowl.

At the finial we have the bust of a man wearing a strange hat rising around a crown decorated with leaves and crosses.
At the base of the stem we have a winged man  facing us. The left hand is clenched and the right hand is open.

The picture in  the bowl  appears to be a vase with two large flowered handles. Above appears to be letters "IHS" which  look like candles
IHS is a Catholic monogram for the name of Jesus which was popular starting in the 13th Century.

The back has a picture of a elaborately helmeted  man (much poorer quality engraving) holding a square object in his right hand and a shovel in his left.
 The M. Hammer marks can be seen where the bowl joins the stem.

Magnus Aase, Bergen
I have two of these baptism spoons that are marked as being made by Magnus Aase (1876-1953) although I suspect that they were made around the
1890 - 1900 time period.

This spoon has what is supposed to be the same finial as the last spoon from Hammer. You can see that the quality of the casting just does not compare to the Hammer piece.

The front of the bowl has a reasonable quality engraving of two animals (I am not sure if they are dogs or dragons). The bottom one is quite obvious, but the top one is lost in the shadow. The back of the bowl is not engraved. Overall the quality of this piece is significantly below that of the Hammer piece.

This spoon has a pyramid shaped cast stem with an enclosed picture of Madonna with child and nice silver wiring around the edges.
The bowl features a nice  engraved  picture of a dragon. The back is not decorated.

Danish Baptism Spoons

This bigger  spoon features a large pillar style handle with a ribbon wrapped around it. It looks like there might have been lettering on the ribbon at one time, but it appears to have been worn off.
The front of the bowl features an engraved picture of a woman holding two children with lettering around her.  
The back of the bowl features a king holding a battleaxe with a crowned head at his foot. There is more lettering around the edge. I suspect that this is supposed to be King Oscar the first of Norway and Sweden. The marks indicate that this spoon was made in 1874. The lettering on the maker's name is worn.

This spoon features a standing man playing a harp with some lettering below

The bowl is engraved with a ribbon design.

The marks indicate that this spoon was made in 1899.

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