Sapi-Portuguese Ivory Spoon

This is a 16th century spoon, carved out of a single piece of ivory. A crocodile is carved on top of the handle in high relief, and the central section of the handle has a double-eight loop, with a snake on either side. The British Museum records refer to this as Afro-Portuguese, a term used to indicate items from Sierra Leone and Nigeria, made for a Portuguese market in the 15th and 16th centuries. Such items display a mixture of African and European elements and motifs in their overall form and ornamentation, and were considered prestige items across Europe. A more specific term for items patronised in Sierra Leone, is Sapi-Portuguese.

Further Information

  • Type: Ivories
  • Object: Sapi-Portuguese Ivory Spoon
  • Materials: Bone, ivory, tooth
  • Culture Group: Bullom, Temne
  • Dimensions: 240mm [L] x 40mm [W] x 280mm [C]
  • Production Date: 1490-1530
  • Associated Places: Unknown
  • Associated People: William Maskell
  • Museum: British Museum
  • Accession Number: BM:Af.1856.623.163

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