Beaker, Attributed to Hans Greiff (German, active ca. 1470–died 1516 Ingolstadt), Horn, gilded silver mounts and cover, German


Attributed to Hans Greiff (German, active ca. 1470–died 1516 Ingolstadt)
15th–16th century
Made in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany
Horn, gilded silver mounts and cover
Overall: 9 1/2 x 2 9/16 x 3 1/16 in. (24.1 x 6.4 x 7.8 cm)
vessel (a) only: 6 1/8 x 2 9/16 x 3 1/16 in. (15.6 x 6.4 x 7.8 cm)
Lid (b) only: 3 1/4 x diam. 2 13/16 in. (8.3 x diam. 7.2 cm)
Ivories-Horn, Metalwork-Silver
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.496a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306
The size of the section of mountain goat (ibex) horn from which this beaker was fashioned dictated its scale. Though small, the beaker is handsomely mounted, a reminder that drinking vessels, particularly the more elaborate ones, of the late Gothic period, were intended not only for use but for display.

The use of horn as a material for drinking vessels was not uncommon, although the exploitation of the natural protrusions of this ridged horn as a grip is an unusual feature. The basic form, however, is essentially that of a traditional beaker, a cylinder with a slightly flared mouth and a flat base. This vessel rests on three feet in the form of mountain goats of the type from which the horn came. The embossed, lobed cover, executed in a technique popular in Germany, has a repoussé lion on the inside and is surmounted by a finial of a man carrying a shield with no armorial bearings. The cup does, however, bear the town mark of Ingolstadt, which securely establishes its provenance.
Marking: (Town mark of Ingolstadt)
Baron Albert Oppenheim, Cologne(sold 1906); J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (1906–1917)
New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens. "The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages," March 28, 1975–June 15, 1975.

Molinier, Émile. Collection du Baron Albert Oppenheim: Tableaux et objets d'art, catalogue précédé d'une introduction. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1904. no. 142, p. 61, pl. LXXXVI.

Müller, Theodor. Ingolstadt. Grosse Kunstführer, Vol. 24. Munich: Schnell & Steiner, 1958. pp. 22–23, fig. 12.

Husband, Timothy B., and Jane Hayward, ed. The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. no. 36, p. 43.