Artistic Handcraft - Wooden Spoon
Lacquer painted wood
Size: 27 cm
Origin and time: Ottoman Turkey, second half of the 16th century
Museum of Fine Arts, Vienna, (Collection Schloss Ambras)
Inv. No. AM_PA_778
The Ottoman family gathered two times a day, midway through the morning and early in the evening before sunset to have a meal. This was served in the main room of the house not in a particular dining room. The people sat on the floor cross-legged on comfortable cushions and carpets.
Dishes were served on big round wooden or metal trays put on the floor or on a lower stand. This entire facility is called “safra” and is still used nowadays. Wealthier families served their meals in tinned copper or faience bowls and ate together from these. At the imperial court the tableware used was made of gold, silver and even Chinese porcelain.
Spoons were the only cutlery used with an impressive variety offered: spoons for soups, rice, sweets, pudding or compote. They were made of precious material such as ivory, brass, and tortoise shell or painted or gilt wood. Sometimes during travelling they would be put in a box fastened to the belt. Their practical use was meticulously prescribed. The right side of the spoon, the “scoop side” was to be dipped into the food, but only to half of the mouthpiece. The left, “eating side” was put into the mouth. It was not allowed to eat from the tip of the spoon.