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ID number:  BIRBI-49.7
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  German
Title / Object name:  Aquamanile in the form of a Knight on Horseback
Object type:  Art object
Culture:  German
Date made:  13th century
Materials:  Bronze
Measurements:  31.7 x 29 cm
Provenance:  Count Wilczek, Burg Kreuzenstein, near Vienna; Dr Philip Nelson, Liverpool, who is known to have been collecting in the 1930s and 1940s; purchased from F.A. Drey, London, February 1949, for £1,000

An aquamanile is a jug-type vessel in the form of an animal or human figure. It usually contained water for the washing of hands over a basin, an essential component of religious and secular rituals in medieval society. Many surviving aquamanilia were created between about 1200 and 1350 in northern Germany, a region with a renowned metalwork tradition. The Barber’s example was probably made in Hildesheim, which re-emerged as a centre for casting works in copper alloy shortly after 1200. Some of the most popular forms of aquamanila were horses, lions and dragons. Here, the waterspout protrudes from the horse’s forehead.

Notes:  Bibliography: O. von Falke and E. Meyer, 'Romanische Leuchter [...] Bronzegerate des Mittelalters', I, 1935, p. 46, no. 296.

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