Cruet, Silver, silver-gilt, German


Made in probably Lübeck, Germany
Silver, silver-gilt
Overall: 6 9/16 x 3 1/16 x 2 11/16 in. (16.7 x 7.8 x 6.8 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
Not on view
This pair of silver vessels closely resembles the handled silver flagons perched on the shelf in the upper right corner of the nearby painting. Such objects were created for use on the table, where they reflected the high status of their owners. This pair was used in church services. Their diminutive scale reflects the small quantity of wine used in the Mass prior to the Reformation. For the liturgy, such objects were always made in pairs (for wine and water). Since these two liquids were combined in the chalice, cruets were often distinguished by the letters V (vinum) and A (aqua) engraved on the lid.
Inscription: [on lid] A (AQUA) and W (WINUM); [on hinges] 1518

Marking: An eagle displayed (city mark of Lübeck); star with P (maker's mark, not found; of Hans Plate(active 1508-1536) (?))
Max and Maurice Rosenheim, London (until 1923); Michael Friedsam, New York (until 1931)
Braunschweig, Germany. Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum. "Stadt im Wandel. Kunst und Kultur des Bürgertums in Norddeutschland," August 25, 1985–November 24, 1985.

New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Treasures and Talismans: Rings from the Griffin Collection," May 1–October 18, 2015.

Eucharistic Vessels of the Middle Ages. Cambridge, Mass.: Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard Art Museums, 1975. no. 6, pp. 63–64, 121.

Frazer, Margaret English. "Medieval Church Treasuries." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 43, no. 3 (Winter 1985-1986). p. 10, fig. 3.

Meckseper, Cord, ed. Stadt im Wandel: Kunst und Kultur des Bürgertums in Norddeutschland, 1150–1650. Ausstellungskatalog. Vol. 2. Braunschweig: Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum, 1985. no. 1127, p. 1305.

McLachlan Elizabeth Parker. "Liturgical Vessels and Implements." In The Liturgy of the Medieval Church, edited by Thomas J. Heffernan, and E. Ann Matter. Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Western Michigan University, 2005. p. 392,394., fig. 4.