Dec 10, 2015
Aug 15, 2014
Aug 15, 2014
Dec 11, 2015
Dec 11, 2015

Aquamanile: Saddled Horse

Aquamanile: Saddled Horse

c. 1250–1300

Copper alloy

Overall: 23.1 x 22.4 cm (9 1/8 x 8 13/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1969.26


Did you know?

The pattern of crosshatched circles on the surface suggests that the horse is a dappled gray warhorse, a prized possession in the period.


Aquamanilia, from the Latin aqua meaning water and manus meaning hands, were hollow cast vessels used for hand washing. Although originally intended for liturgical use they became a common sight in the homes of the nobility in the 1200s and 1300s. Often filled with scented water, these vessels were used to wash hands just before and after eating a meal. An accompanying catch basin would have caught the water as it was being poured. Here we see a proud and alert dappled gray warhorse, highly prized in the medieval period. The saddled but riderless form is rare; other popular aquamanilia include lions, dragons, griffins, and human heads.

See also
MED - Gothic
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Copper alloy

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