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Shiebler "Etruscan" aka "Homeric" Rare Aesthetic Sterling Silver Scoop

Shiebler "Etruscan" aka "Homeric" Rare Aesthetic Sterling Silver Scoop
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One of the most imaginative American silver designers ever, George Shiebler's work in many instances went well beyond conventional constructs.

A product of the Aesthetic Movement and falling broadly within the "Medallion" category, what is now identified as his "Etruscan" or "Homeric" style, circa 1880, and subsequently imitated by other makers, is an example of Shiebler's probing and innovative instincts.

Produced in flat and hollow ware as well as jewelry, this pattern is characterized by irregular forms, imprinted, that is essentially chiseled, figures, hammered surfaces, and whimsical or abstract detailing.

This particular piece is singular even within the great diversity of "Etruscan" or "Homeric" items.

It measures 3 3/4" long, 1 1/2" wide, and is exceptionally heavy at nearly 2.5 T. oz., and has all the features enumerated above.

The function is elusive. It appears to be a scoop with a nubby handle, which bears the image of a classical male warrior. The base is flat which would make it impractical for a tea caddy spoon, and while the rolled edges suggest cheese, the handle is short for that. So in sum this evidences the enigmatic character for which Shiebler is known.

In excellent condition, there is no obvious wear apart from some overall smoothness from polishing. There are traces of gold in the recesses of the hammering and the background around the figure, suggesting this may originally have had a gold finished surface in whole or in part. Also, there are what appear to be scratches on the interior of the scoop, but these are irregular in a patterned way and in fact appear to be part of added etching on the design.

Marks are Shiebler's "winged S" emblem and "Sterling," stamped on the backside of the handle.

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