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Mote Spoon
c. 1700-1720
Silver (sterling)

In the 18th century, tea did not come in the convenient little disposable tea bags, instead people would mix loose tea leaves with hot water. The loose bits of tea (or mote, which means small spec) would float to the top of one’s cup, and the decorative holes in the spoon allowed the drinker to pick the leaves out of their cup without losing any liquid. Ours is an example of a more elaborate design, as the holes are cut in the shape of arrows and stars, instead of plain circular holes.

The end of the handle is pointed, enabling a person to clear a teapot’s spot of any loose leaves that got jammed in the opening. Unfortunately, the maker’s hallmarks on this piece are very partial, so determining country of origin and silversmith are very difficult.

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