Before refrigerators and freezers became common kitchen appliances in the mid-20th century, foods were stored in the pantry. To keep some foodstuffs out of reach of predators, they were suspended from the ceiling using devices like the crown-shaped rack shown here. Known as meat, game or sausage crowns, these racks were used to keep different types of meat until they were cured or smoked. The wrought-iron utensils go back to Antiquity, when crown-shaped racks were often adorned with bird motifs and stored in a carnarium (pantry).
The basic metal structure of the crown is simple: a ring with six to eight hooks, several rods bent into a dome and a hook at the top for hanging. Nevertheless, it is often richly ornamented with motifs such as lilies, candleholders or, as in this model from the 18th century, birds and scrolls.
Cooking, eating, purchasing, digesting, 2003. Vevey: Alimentarium, p. 22-23.