Saturday, May 23, 2009

In Miniature

Going through Mom’s house, most of the time when we open a drawer or a box or a closet, it’s stuffed with the ordinary accumulation of a life: towels, bank statements, maps, socks.

Every now and then, we get to crack the lid on a more exotic collection that leaves us feeling like Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon on the steps leading down to Tut’s tomb, or like the smallholder and his gardening assistants when they found the first line of rivets in the sand as they were excavating Sutton Hoo.

In this exquisitely carved camphor chest (from China), we found mostly air. But in the bottom was a scattering of serving pieces that probably came from the travels of my father’s mother.

Above is a bowl that could have held sugar cubes, or olives.

Here are the delicately wrought claws of the tongs in the bowl, which you could use to pick up whatever was inside it.

Here is a tiny serving spoon.

And with it is a tiny Viking ship to hold whatever you’re serving: a spice, maybe, or a strong sauce like horseradish or chutney.

This horn looks like a salt shaker, or maybe it was made to hold shots of aqvavit.

And here’s the smallest pitcher in the world. For scale, compare it to the hinge below.


Anonymous said...

The viking ship looks more like a salt cellar as the blunt spoon would make it easier to shake the salt more evenly over your food. Very pretty stuff.

elizabeth said...

Cool stuff!