Aquamanile: Saddled Horse

c. 1250–1300
Location: not on view
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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.
Aquamanile: Saddled Horse

Aquamanile: Saddled Horse

c. 1250–1300

North Germany, Lower Saxony (?), 14th century

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