Bottoms-up cup or stirrup cup (Sturzbecher)

German, Cologne

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 520

Clay enabled a spontaneity of modeling impossible for goldsmiths; stoneware objects could be made quickly and at a fraction of the cost of metal ones. The potter turned this vessel on a wheel to manipulate its basic form, pressing on the separately made head, arms, and other details; the glaze was applied so hastily its trickles are discernable.

Traditionally, a departure would be marked by a farewell or Godspeed toast drunk in honor of Saint Gertrude, patron of travelers. "Bottoms-up" (or stirrup) cups are associated with this ceremony. With no base to be set down upon, they are intended to be used on horseback and the liquid downed in a gulp.

[Elizabeth Cleland, 2017]

Bottoms-up cup or stirrup cup (Sturzbecher), Salt-glazed stoneware, German, Cologne

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