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This modest object is an example of the utilitarian metalwork produced and used in massive numbers throughout the sixteenth century. An everyday version of the fantastic and virtuoso display mortars such as 2016.492 and 2017.11), the working mortar is made from bell metal: hard-wearing but considerably cheaper than bronze because of its higher tin content. All the same, it was decorated—cast from a mold lightly embellished with a simple, repeating crowned-dolphin motif.

Mortar, Bell metal, French

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