Thursday, January 27, 2011

NYC - Fort Tryon Park - The Cloisters - Aquamanile in the form of a Cock

Aquamanile in the Form of a Cock
Copper alloy
Germany, Lower Saxony, 13th century
The Cloisters Collection, 1989 (1989.292)
Former owner: Walter Randall, Paris and New York

Aquamanilia, from the Latin words meaning "water" (aqua) and "hands" (manus), were animal- or human-shaped water vessels used to pour water over the hands of priests before celebrating Mass and of diners at meals, usually cast in copper alloy through lost-wax process.

Aquamanilia in the form of roosters are rare, but this one can be related to two other examples, all strikingly naturalistic, with densely engraved feather patterns over much of their surfaces. Only in this example, however, was the modeler bold enough to balance the bird on its feet. In other examples, the tail feathers were extended to create a tripod for greater stability.

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