Originally Posted by David
If the spoons were made of the same material and the dot patterns were in the same configuration perhaps i could see a connection. What i think you have here is a misinformed collector putting "like" things together because he doesn't know any better. Nothing about these items says "set" to me.
Here's a link to a Tibetan knife of mine which also has dot patterns as well as a similar over shape. I don't think Colin's is Tibetan, but i'd bet it is from somewhere closer to there than African. I'd say Afghanistan might be a good guess.
I think that Afghanistan would be an excellent guess, much as has been suggested by several of us here. This simple motif is clearly something that has most likely evolved convergently in quite different cultures and from ancient times. Its very simplicity reflects certain temporal commonality, and it was well known in ancient times in Luristan and contiguous areas.
What comes to mind for me are the Afghan lohars with these circled dots as well as a buzkhashi whip with its bone handle having like motif.
The concentric circles are interesting, but somewhat incongruent with these simple circled dots.
In reviewing the posts here, I wanted to note as well the outstanding detail added in Katana's research on these symbols. I well agree with your well placed note on the instances where collectors (and often even museums) get groupings of items comingled and contaminate provenance. In fact, conversely, there was one instance I recall where collected items led to a presumption of a Tibetan identification on a distinctly African knife.
All best regards,