Exotic Shiebler Sterling Silver Wine Taster or Nut Spoon
click for more pictures for item 2753f
George Shiebler's work is nothing if not imaginative and it often inspires speculation about design sources and function.
That is the case with this 5 7/8" long, weighty at 2.1 T. oz., presumably wine taster, or possibly nut spoon, with a likely late 19th century date.
It has an oversized, seemingly carved, roughly rectangular, 3 1/2" by 2 1/4", handle.
The design is enigmatic, and could trace to multiple origins.
Overall the imagery suggests it found inspiration in Aztec themes. Yet within the detail, there is a central form that could be a cross, with the possibility that the surrounding design then reflects Celtic elements.
Were this latter possibility the case, it might be intended for a ritualistic purpose.
The bowl is perfectly circular, 2" in diameter and 3/8" deep. In sum, and to repeat, it is a piece that invites the beholder to engage it and further, to probe its symbolism and imagery.
It is in mint, essentially unused, condition. There is no wear whatsoever and the finish is brilliant.
Marks are Shiebler's "winged S" emblem, "Sterling," and model number "2138."