© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1932.56.45
Title
Spoon
Classification
Tools and Equipment
Work Type
spoon
Date
1st-4th century CE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Period
Roman Imperial period
Culture
Roman
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/291127
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Bone
Technique
Carved
Dimensions
actual: 12.9 cm (5 1/16 in.)
Provenance
Dr. Harris Kennedy, Milton, MA (by 1932), gift; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1932.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. Harris Kennedy, Class of 1894
Accession Year
1932
Object Number
1932.56.45
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
This carved bone spoon is in one piece. The bowl is oval shaped and the handle is sharpened to a point at the end. The surface is highly polished.
Commentary
A small bone spoon such as this could have been used for the application of cosmetics; woman applied color to their cheeks, whitened their faces, and penciled in eyebrows. The oval end would have scooped cosmetics from jars and boxes (such as 2012.1.128), while the sharp end mixed pigments and ointments before application. The importance of cosmetics in the ancient world is attested by the surviving objects as well as accounts by Roman writers detailing recipes for hair dyes and other ointments.
Publication History

Ioli Kalavrezou, Byzantine Women and Their World, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2003), p.261, no. 153

Exhibition History

Roman Gallery Installation (long-term), Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/16/1999 - 01/20/2008

Byzantine Women and Their World, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/25/2002 - 04/28/2003

Subjects and Contexts

Roman Domestic Art

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu