A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER
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THE WHAT IS? SILVER DICTIONARY

NEF

nef is a dinner-table ornamental or utilitarian article in the form of a model of a ship, with masts, sails, rigging and with various figures on board.
The ancient examples (13th-16th centuries) were drinking cups. The later were receptacles for dining implements.
Such pieces were used in France, Germany, Spain and Italy but most of the extant nefs were made in Germany at the end of the 19th century.

silver nef: Germany end of the 19th century

There is desagreement about nef's use. Someone believe that they began as incense boat of the church, other believe they were an ancestor of brass and silver " Burgundy waggons" or a drinking vessel as noted in 13th century French romances.
The nef was an important part of Continental elegant dining, bearing in its hollow hull the spoon, knife, napkin, spices of the host.
When the use of great dining halls waned, the hull was fashioned to hold wine, sweetmeats or a variety of special condiments.
A German silver large nef made by Neresheimer in Hanau at the end of the 19th century.
It has three masts, set sails, the deck with numerous sailors and cannons.
The hull is chased with scenes of Galatea in her dolphin-drawn chariot. The bow sprit is formed as a twin-tailed triton holding a fish and rushes on four wheels with dolphin-form spokes.

silver nef: Germany end of the 19th century silver nef: Germany end of the 19th century
silver nef: Germany end of the 19th century
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