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Catriona 
Posted: 07-Nov-2002, 04:20 AM
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On various visits to your Principality  :p  I have bought a number of carved items.

One was an antique (it really IS old.....   about 130 years the shop believe) love token, a beautiful carved wood spoon.  It has initials on the bowl (presumably the 'happy' couple?) and the handle is intricately carved, with a ball within a carved trellis - ingeniously done - there are no joins that I can see.
I believe these spoons were carved by a man to give to his intended and that they were then put on display on the wall of their home.  This one is a beauty - I wish I could remember what wood it was carved from.  The shop owner gave me a card with all the details on it, but I've since lost it.  The shop (in St David's) has now gone....

Another item was a beautiful carved child's chair.  Not a high chair, but a small chair.  It doesn't have any intricate carving, just some shaping....   but the colour of the wood is just wonderful - it glows.  The shop where I bought it thought it probably dated from about 1900 - so I suppose that, technically, it isn't an antique at all  :D
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Welsh Guy 
Posted: 07-Nov-2002, 07:10 AM
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What you have there my dear is a "Love Spoon", traditionally it would have been carved out of a solid piece of Sycamore, each design has it's own symbolism.

The heart, quite naturally, was the most conventional sign and it was to be a full heart carved into the depth of the spoon. A merely fretted heart could imply the lack of real desire, linked hearts meant love reciprocated, two hearts on a spoon indicated that both the giver and recipient felt the same about each other, while a heart-shaped bowl expressed the wish to share a full and bountiful life.

Wheels and spades suggested work and service. With a lock the carver let his maiden know that he wished to lock her in his heart, and with a key, keyhole and house, he told her his heart and house were hers to unlock. Anchors were often carved on spoons suggesting that the donor had found a place where he wishes to settle. The representation of growth was often depicted through a vine tree and similar motifs.

Others were hollowed out and  had small spheres running freely in a slotted cavity (these characterized as a general rule the number of children the carver wished to have). Some spoons even had two bowls sprouting from one handle ("we two make one").


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Catriona 
Posted: 07-Nov-2002, 07:41 AM
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That's interesting, Welsh Guy...  I note that there are loads of modern love spoons for sales in Wales in the touristy, 'toot n tat' shops (as we so eloquently name them in Scotland :D ) - but they are obviously newly made.

The one I have has a very pointed 'bowl' - and the handled 'blooms' out near the end into a ball - which has been carved so you can see inside to a free moving ball of the same wood.  Now, I have seen this in Chinese and Japanese ivory carving, but never in wood.  That's what attracted me to it in the first place.  Whoever made it obviously loved his lady very much - he must have spent many, many hours carving it!  :)
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