This ladle, termed a kyathos in Greek, is
designed with a long, re-curved handle,
rectangular in cross-section, which widens at
the top to form a shoulder from which springs
the head of a duck which forms a finial. The
elongated “neck” of the duck is curved to
facilitate handling. The juncture of the handle
with its rounded bowl is designed as two
projecting tangs. It would seem this ladle was
cast and then hammered with the details of the
head of the duck chased.
Ladles of this design are attested in the Greek
world from at least the eighth century B.C.,
although this utensil can be traced back to
Mycenean times of the Bronze Age. During the
Classical Period, the bowls of these ladles were
designed to accommodate a specific quantity of
Scholars have inventoried a limited number of
about a dozen ladles of this very type. These
exhibit a specific geographic distribution
pattern, most of the known examples coming
from the area of northern Greece, north western
Asia Minor, and South Russia along the coast of
the Black Sea. All of these examples are dated to
the late fourth to early third century B.C.
There are two very close parallels for our ladle;
one in Baltimore, in The Walters Art Museum
(inventory number 57.909) and a second in
Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
(inventory number 72.104).
A. Oliver, Jr., Silver for the Gods. 800 Years of
Greek and Roman Silver (Toledo 1977), page 43,
no. 13 and page 46, no. 15.