Description With handles made from precious, luminescent amber, these utensils for a servant to serve meat at a banquet rise above their function. Like other cutlery made of precious materials, they were also displayed for their artistry. They bear the arms of the Palatine Electors and were probably made for use at their court in Heidelberg. The German coast of the Baltic Sea was the primary source for amber at this period. The gathering and working of this highly prized material were controlled by the duchy of Prussia, so it is likely that these utensils were crafted in the Prussian cities Königsberg (present day Kaliningrad, Byelorussia) or Danzig (present-day Gdansk, Poland). Objects made from amber were valued already by the Greeks and Etruscans. Although included in many princely collections by 1600, the real interest in collecting amber developed in the following century.
- Artful Dining: The Exhibition. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1994.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters
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