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Bronze aquamanile
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Aquamaniles (from the Latin aqua meaning “water” and manus meaning “hand”) are ewers specifically made for washing hands. They were an importanat piece of secular tableware at the dining tables of the wealthy. Regular hand-washing during meals was necessary since the majority of people in the medieval period ate with their fingers.

This aquamanile, in the form of a knight on horseback, would be filled with water through the spout on the forehead of the horse. Other examples of aquamaniles in the form oа a horse and rider exist, including ceramic versions. Those made from bronze were generally produced for wealthier clients, and the high quality of the craftsmanship of this piece means that it was probably a prestige item.

Bronze aquamanile

Made in England, late XIII century AD, found in the River Tyne near Hexham.
Ht. 33 cm.

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