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ca. 1275-1300 - 'aquamanile', probably English, The British Museum, London, England | by RO EL (Roel Renmans)
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ca. 1275-1300 - 'aquamanile', probably English, The British Museum, London, England

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

 

It was found in the River Tyne, near Hexham, at some point before 1853, when it was acquired by The British Museum.

 

Aquamanile in the form of an equestrian knight; copper alloy; the knight is firmly seated in the saddle and turns slightly to the lance side; the helmet is flat-topped with a trefoil in relief at the front and there is a slit for the eyes that ends in a trefoil; over protective mail is a surcoat engraved with alternating fleurs-de-lis and stars in a diamond pattern with cross-hatched lines; the bridle and breastband are in relief, and decorated with rosettes; the lance, shield, lid of helmet, feet of knight and horse's tail missing.

 

Dimensions

Height: 333 millimetres

Width: 250 millimetres

Depth: 112 millimetres

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Taken on February 26, 2012