Aquamanile in the Form of a Rooster

Date: 13th century

Geography: Made in Lower Saxony, Germany

Culture: German

Medium: Copper alloy

Dimensions: 9 15/16 x 4 1/8 x 9 3/4 in. (25.2 x 10.5 x 24.7 cm)
Thickness: 11/16-15/16 in. (0.18-0.24 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Copper alloy

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1989

Accession Number: 1989.292


This aquamanile takes the form of a crowing cock. Balanced on its two feet, the rooster has an extended neck and an open beak. The vessel is filled through an opening with a hinged lid found between the carefully rendered upright tail feathers, and a pair of feathers curls forward to form the handle. The water was poured through the open mouth. Aquamanilia in this form are rare, but this example can be closely compared to two others, one in Frankfurt and another in Nuremberg. The three works are all strikingly naturalistic renderings of the rooster, with densely engraved feather patterns over much of their surfaces. Only in the New York example, however, was the modeler bold enough to balance the bird on its feet. Both of the others use the extended rear feathers to create a tripod for greater stability.