Spoon made of reindeer antler carved with Saami decorations

Place details: EUROPE. Finland / Lapland. Cultural Group: European Saami: Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Reindeer Antler Animal / ?. Processes: Carved / Incised / Perforated / ?. Dimensions: Max L = 144 mm Field Collector: Arthur John Evans When Collected: 1873 Other Owners: Arthur John Evans PRM Source: Joan Evans Acquired: Donated August 1941

KEYWORD: Spoon / Food Accessory / CLASS: Food and Drink / ?.

Object description: Spoon of reindeer antler, bowl incised with a border and a complicated pattern on the back. Handle with small dangling rings and square and curved perforations. [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 8/3/2006]

Research notes: This is one of eleven Saami spoons [1941.8.1 - .11] from Lapland collected by Arthur Evans. It is unclear, however, whether all eleven of these spoons were collected by Evans during his voyage to Finland in 1873. Indeed, the existence of one spoon [1941.8.8] featuring an inscribed date '1876' suggests that not all of them were. In his journal of the voyage Evans specifically describes collecting only one spoon made of reindeer antler, at Kyroe near Lake Inari on 12 September 1873: 'Here I got a Lapp reindeer spoon with most characteristic zigzag ornaments' (entry dated 12 September 1873): Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Sir Arthur Evans Archive, B/2/1, Box 1, Notebook 2, p.128. This mention of 'zigzag ornaments' enables one to identify the spoon with some certainty as 1941.8.6, since this is the only one of the spoons to feature predominantly this kind of pattern. The addition to its bowl of a pasted label, noting 'ENARE LAPPMARK', appears to confirm the identification, since none of the other spoons has any such label attached. As for the other spoons, there are several possibilities regarding their collection, none of which can be ascertained with certainty: (1.) they were collected by Evans during the course of his voyage to Finnish Lapland but not recorded in his journal; (2.) one or more of the spoons may have been among 'several Lapp things' collected by Evans at Muonioniska on 14 September 1873; (3.) one or more of the spoons may have been among 'some Lapp ornaments' collected by Evans at Luleå, Sweden, on the return journey, between 20 and 27 September 1873; or (4.) they were collected at some later date, as presumably was the case for 1941.8.8 mentioned above: Philip N. Grover, 'Note on Eleven Saami Spoons in the Arthur Evans Collection' (see Related Documents File). [PG 06/06/2013]

For more information on Arthur Evans' voyage to Finnish Lapland in 1873, see Joan Evans, Time and Chance: The Story of Arthur Evans and His Forebears (London, 1943), pp.172-176; Ann Brown, Before Knossos...: Arthur Evans's Travels in the Balkans and Crete (Oxford, 1993), pp.14-16, 90; and Tony Lurcock, No Particular Hurry: British Travellers in Finland, 1830-1917 (London, 2013), pp.123-134, 250. A selection of drawings and photographs made by Arthur Evans during the voyage was displayed in 'Travels in Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina: An Ethnographic Collection of Sir Arthur Evans', exhibition curated by Philip Grover, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, 29 April to 1 September 2013 (see Related Documents File). [PG 06/06/2013]