Derived from the Latin words for water (aqua) and hand (manus), an aquamanile (plural: aquamanilia) is an animal- or human-shaped water vessel used in hand washing, an essential component of religious and secular rituals in the Middle Ages. Aquamanilia were the first cast vessels of medieval Europe. Usually cast in copper alloy through the lostwax process (cire perdue), the hundreds of surviving examples date from the twelfth through fifteenth century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has one of the most important collections of aquamanilia in the world, with examples at The Cloisters and in the main building on Fifth Avenue, in both the medieval galleries and the Lehman Collection.
Hubert de Pourtalès, Château Martinvast, Normandy (sold 1936) ; [ Brummer Gallery (1936, through Guiraud Frères–sold 1947)]
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The Middle Ages: Treasures from The Cloisters and The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 18, 1970–March 29, 1970.
Chicago. Art Institute of Chicago. "The Middle Ages: Treasures from The Cloisters and The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 16, 1970–July 5, 1970.
New York. Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture. "Lions, Dragons, and Other Beasts: Aquamanilia of the Middle Ages. Vessels for Church and Table," July 12, 2006–October 15, 2006.