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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
The bowl is engraved with a ribbon design.
The marks indicate that this spoon was made in 1899.
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