Handle of a wooden sherbet spoon (‘qashuq’) which has been elaborately carved with an openwork design. There is the remains of some red paint on the carved portion, and two incised lines on the plain stem. The reverse of the spoon shows evidence of glue, and is damaged.
This carefully carved spoon was used for drinking sherbet. Typically sherbet would be presented in a ceramic basin with the bowl of the spoon floating on the liquid’s surface and the handle resting on the basin’s edge. A guest would drink from the spoon, then place it back in the basin for other guests to use. Spoons like this example are associated with the Iranian town of Abadah, although there is nothing to specifically link it to the town. In the nineteenth century Abadah was famous for its elaborately carved sherbet spoons (‘qashuq’) and many were collected by European travelers as they made easily transportable craft objects. Abadah spoons were carved form pear or box wood, but we do not know what wood was used in this example.