Gemellion (Hand Basin) with the Arms of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem

Date: ca. 1250–75

Geography: Made in Limoges, France

Culture: French

Medium: Copper: formed, engraved, gilt; champlevé enamel: medium blue, turquoise, and white

Dimensions: Overall: 8 7/8 x 9 1/4 x 1 3/8 in. (22.5 x 23.5 x 3.5 cm)

Classification: Enamels-Champlevé

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1949

Accession Number: 49.56.8


This gemellion, or enamel basin, testifies to the dialogue between the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem and the Limousin region of France, renowned for its enamel production. The arms of that kingdom, a large cross surrounded by small crosses, appear at the center of the bowl. Four men armed with shields and clubs separated by three-towered castles surround the arms. Originally part of a pair, the bowl was used to pour water over the hands from the small "gargoyle" or animal-head spout set into the side.