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Aquamanile in the Form of a Griffin

Date:
ca. 1425–50
Culture:
German, Nuremberg
Medium:
Bronze; Ternary copper alloy with a very high content of zinc (approx. 74% copper, approx. 22% zinc, approx. 2% lead) with natural patina, hollow cast.
Dimensions:
H. 31.9 cm, w. 12 cm (chest without wings), l. 32.3 cm (including spout), wt. 3588 g and 488 g (wings).
Classification:
Metalwork-Bronze
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.1.1413
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 953
This magnificent aquamanile in the form of a griffin with (separately cast) outstretched wings can be grouped stylistically with the unicorn (64.101.1493) and a few other examples that were probably produced by the same Nuremberg workshop in the second quarter of the fifteenth century. The aquamanile was filled through a hole between the ears, and water was poured from the spigot in the chest, likely a rare surviving original element.
Maurice Chabrières-Arlès, Oullins, until 1903; [Duveen Brothers, New York]. Acquired by Philip Lehman through Duveen (as “Flemish Dinanderie”) for $6,500 in May 1928
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