Evaporated from sea water, carved from salt mountains, and mined from salt caves, salt has been used for millennia in cooking and to preserve fresh food. Its sale was regulated by the state to ensure supply and fair prices. Fortunes have been made and lost from salt by taxation and monopolies. Salt was served in cellars (‘salts’) of diverse shapes, sizes, and materials, all with a hollow from which the salt was pinched or scooped. This beautiful English example has a push-fit cover surmounted by a ferocious warrior to ‘protect’ the salt from contamination.
Unidentified silversmith, London, England, 1583 Silver gilt L.D. Cunliffe Bequest, 1937 (M/P.3 & A-1938)