Scales of Justice

I did some research on the lady holding the "scales of justice" and was surprised by the findings. First there is a very unusual sterling ladle and then you can read how this symbol evolved.

This very large (8.6") heavy pierced ladle is marked "sterling" thus I can only guess at its origin and age. The handle is cast with with a very large heavy reticulated flower design. The bowl features Justitia holding the scales of justice in her right hand and an upraised sword in her left. From the style of the piece I would guess it 's origin to be around 1900.

This symbol probably originated in Ancient Greece. Themis was an oracle at Delphi and became known as a goddess of "divine justice". She was an associate and adviser of Zeus. In depictions of her, she typically carries the scales of justice in one hand and a sword in the other, while her eyes are covered.

Daughters of Themis and Zeus were Dike and Astraea (although they may have been the same Goddess). The daughters often carried the sword without the scales and when they do have the scales it may be for measuring grain, rather than justice. Astraea also became the constellation Virgo.

Justitia was a Roman "goddess of justice" who wore a blindfold. She has often been depicted with sword and scales, but variations exist. Our conception is based upon this Roman ideal.

Our modern Western representation of the "Lady of Justice" usually has her blindfolded (but not always) and she usually carries a sword and scales. She is usually represented as "mature" and draped in flowing robes and she symbolizes the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, avarice, prejudice, or favor.

Dutch /Huguenot version of Justitia with the sword in her right hand. The bowl is all hand repoussed and chased in the style of the Huguenot Monkey spoons (see Monkey spoon exhibit from main index).

The finial on this spoon is also very interesting. There is a cherub holding a torch aloft in a victory pose. Since these spoons were made for special events (weddings and funerals) I suspect that this spoon was made as a gift to a lawyer for winning a case? The symbol of justice with a laurel wreath above and with the rising sun at her feet carries many implications (800 silver with an unidentified maker mark)

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