- mid-6th–mid-7th century
- Silver, niello, traces of gilding
- Overall: 9 15/16 x 1 7/16 x 7/8 in. (25.3 x 3.7 x 2.3 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Purchase, John C. Weber Gift, in honor of Helen C. Evans, 2005
- Accession Number:
Probably once part of a set, this handsome spoon exemplifies the exceptional quality of the finest Early Byzantine silver. The spoon's bowl, outlined in an elegant wave pattern worked in niello, contains an inscription in Latin: puritas, or "purity." The tapering stem with traces of gilding displays in niello the name Matteus, possibly a reference to the evangelist Matthew. Small crosses beside the inscriptions and on the disk connecting the bowl and the stem place the work within a Christian context. Also on the disk is the monogram of the as-yet-identified owner. The use of Latin for the inscriptions associates the spoon with Roman imperial tradition, which was transferred to the new Rome, Constantinople, in the fourth century.