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Elliptical serving bowl

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The raised elliptical vessel has a deep flat bowl with steep sides and a broad flat rim finished with a rolled edge. The boldly scalloped rim has a wide hemispherical curve at the center of each length and a small, nearly circular curve on the shorter sides.


"Pt" and "O" stamped on rim, possibly owners marks.


A very small head of a bearded man, in a shaped cartouche, struck on rim (a Lisbon symbol used from 1886 to 1938 to indicate silver of artistic or archaeological value).


The bowl has a curious history of ownership in the early twentieth century that links two notable American silver scholars. The vessel, then called a Portuguese shaving basin, was lent to the Museum in 1914 by Francis Hill Bigelow (1859 – 1933). Bigelow placed it on loan for Englishman E. Alfred Jones (1872 – 1944), who had published his book entitled The Old Silver of American Churches the year before. The purpose of this loan is unclear, and we do not know anything about the donor’s identity or her relationship to Bigelow or Jones.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. W. L. Mckee


Object Place

Probably Mexico


6.1 x 41 x 29.3 cm (2 3/8 x 16 1/8 x 11 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique





Silver hollowware