About this artwork
As the name suggests, an aquamanile—from the Latin for water (aqua) and hand (manus)—is a ewer intended for hand washing. While such vessels were used in both sacred and secular rituals during the Middle Ages, they were also inventive sculptural objects. They usually featured animal forms that could be either whimsical or imposing. This aquamanile, produced by a northern German artist around 1350, takes the shape of a lion, but incorporates three other creatures: a dog that is locked in the lion’s fierce jaws, a basilisk or winged dragon on the lion’s back forming the pitcher’s handle, and a serpentine creature at the end of the lion’s tail.
- Foundry of Johannes Apengeter
- Aquamanile in the Form of a Lion
- Copper alloy
- 25.5 × 28.8 × 11.8 cm (10 1/16 × 11 1/4 × 4 3/4 in.)
- Through prior bequest of the George F. Harding Collection; Chester D. Tripp, Jane Gidwitz Memorial; and European Painting and Sculpture Purchase funds