Aquamanile in the Form of a Falconer on Horseback, 13th century
North German (Lower Saxony)
Copper alloy; 3 11/16 x 4 3/4 x 11 1/4 in. (34.7 x 12 x 28.5 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 1947 (47.101.55)
Although compromised by the loss of the horse's feet and significant wear to the surface, this aquamanile in the form of a youthful falconer remains a striking work. The rider wears a tight hunting costume with a pleated surcoat and an unusual "pillbox" hat. His hair falls down the back into two bundles, each tied with a ribbon. This exotic costume, presumably meant to evoke a hunter from the Islamic world, provides few points of comparison to help in dating and localizing this work. The hunter's face, however, with its incised eyes and small, down-turned mouth and thin lips, is reminiscent of the faces on the Hildesheim baptismal font, and the slender torso of the hunter can be compared to other Lower Saxony aquamanilia.