Quantcast

Aquamanile in the Form of a Dragon

Date:
ca. 1200
Culture:
North German
Medium:
Copper alloy
Dimensions:
Overall: 8 3/4 x 7 1/4 in., 4365.108lb. (22.2 x 18.4 cm, 1980kg) Overall PD: 8 3/8 x 4 3/8 x 7 3/16 in. (21.2 x 11.1 x 18.2 cm) Thickness PD: 3/25 in. (0.3 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Copper alloy
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1947
Accession Number:
47.101.51
  • Description

    Aquamaniles, which are water vessels used for washing hands, served both liturgical and secular purposes. Those made in the shape of an animal are among the most distinctive products of medieval craftsmen. The most commonly seen zoomorphic aquamaniles are lions, but dragons, griffins, and many other forms were also produced (see acc. nos. 47.101.51, 1994.244).

    This striking vessel represents a dragon, which is supported by its legs in front and on the tips of its wings behind, with a tail that curls up into a handle. It was filled through an opening in the tail, now missing its hinged cover. Water was poured out through the spout formed by the hooded or cowled figure held between the dragon's teeth. In addition to its visual power, this aquamanile is distinguished by fine casting, visible in the carefully chased dragon's scales and other surface details.

  • Provenance

    Hubert de Pourtalès , Château Martinvast, Normandy (sold 1936) ; [ Brummer Gallery (1936, through Guiraud Frères–sold 1947)]

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
471287

Close