Etruscan Skewer or “Christian Claw”

Culture: Etruscan
Period: 5th-4th century B.C.
Material: Iron, Bronze
Dimensions: 26 cm high
Price: 2 800 Euro
Ref: 4021
Provenance: French collection Alexandre Nicholai (1865-1952).
Condition: One pike broken in ancient times.
Description: Bronzed iron claw with five curved pikes and a ring for suspension. The handle with deep hallmark patterns. In Italian these claws are called “Graffione” because they were first interpreted as torture instruments used against the first Christians. Today the majority of the researchers agree that it is a skewer where meat was hung. In the Archaeological Museum in Bologna there are similar pieces which were found in Etruscan graves. It is assumed that these skewers together with meat were given into the grave for the deceased on his journey to the afterlife. Based on an image on an Etruscan mirror in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, other researchers assume that these are not skewers, but rather torch holders. Extremely rare!