Title:Knife, from a two-piece cutlery setArtist:Artist UnknownDate:late 16th centuryCreation Place:Europe, Italy, VeniceCredit Line:Gift of funds from the Decorative Arts Council with proceeds from the 2008 ...Accession Number:2010.29.1
This preciously decorated and extremely rare coral cutlery set from the late 1500s would have been only used on extraordinary occasions, such as a wedding, a knighting or a state visit. In the late Renaissance, the guests would typically bring their own cutlery to formal dinners. An expensively decorated cutlery set would have elicited the host's and other guests' admiration. Besides, coral was believed to be an antidote against poison. Therefore, in the view of its time this set of cutlery would have offered its bearer special protection during a meal at the table of a rival family or of an untrustworthy foreign ruler.