Covered Beaker

Hans Greiff German

On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 16

This lavish silver beaker from the medieval town hall of Ingolstadt, in Bavaria, bear clear witness to the prosperity of the city and its residents, above all the fraternal members of the town council. The town hall boasted a treasury full of silver, and an on-site pub or "Trinkstube," in addition to its predicable tall towers and a fine clock. The town council members and guild leaders who gathered for meetings there appear to have taken the responsibility for celebration seriously.

On the base of this example, kneeling knights hold the painted arms of a mayor of Ingolstadt, Hans Glätzle, in whose honor it was given to the town treasury. But did Glätzle himself pay for this ostentatious silver beaker? Arms found on the inside of the lid could be those of the bakers’ guild, but have also been interpreted as that of the barbers or the bathhouse attendants!

The weight of the silver in Marks and Lots (old units of measurement) is written on the underside of the beaker, along with the city’s hallmark, a rampant (standing) panther. Although there is no maker’s mark, the Ingolstadt goldsmith Hans Greiff likely created this beaker to honor Mayor Glätzle, whom Greiff would succeed as mayor in 1498.

Covered Beaker, Hans Greiff (German, active ca. 1470–died 1516 Ingolstadt), Silver, gilded silver, enamel, and cold enamel, German

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