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Cutlery case

Cutlery case

Culture: Flanders or Netherlands
Date: 1660
Medium: Boxwood
Dimensions:
7 7/8 x 1 3/16 x 1 9/16 inches (20 x 3 x 4 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: The Brummer Collection
Label Text:Before the ownership of utensils was wide-spread in western Europe, guests to meals outside the home often brought their own table setting, including a knife and fork. Cutlery cases such as these would have been used to carry them. Depending upon the wealth and status of its owner, the cutlery case could be made of modest leather, wood, or precious metal. Middle-class consumers purchased decorated boxwood cutlery cases, which would be transported attached to their belt or girdle.

As a purely utilitarian object, this sheath also demonstrates how inseparable religious and secular worlds had become. Intricately carved Christian imagery fills both sides of the case. The case depicts minutely detailed scenes from the Old and New Testaments, with the names of each principal figure written below them. The narrow sides contain a contemporary saying warning its owner to avoid sin and honor God as death and judgement will soon come.



Provenance: Ernest [1890-1964] or Joseph [1883-1947] Brummer; by inheritance to Ernest's wife, Ella Brummer; purchased 1966 by Duke University Museum of Art, now Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Object number: 1966.104.1