The crew on a VOC ship is divided into messes, each consisting of seven to ten hands who carry out the same work on board. They would share their food from one bowl, called bak in Dutch and this also became the Dutch word for ‘mess’. The Dutch have an expression meaning that if one missed out, you did not get to the ‘bowl’. This plate and these spoons were used on the ship Vasa, a Swedish war ship that sank during her maiden voyage in the harbour of Stockholm on 10 August 1628. They can be compared with the dinner service and cutlery used on the VOC ships. Unfortunately, very little of this type of utensils from ships has been preserved.
Eating and drinking utensils
On loan from Vasa Museet, Stockholm, Sweden