Aquamanile in the Form of a Mounted Knight

Date: ca. 1250

Geography: Made in probably Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, Germany

Culture: German

Medium: Copper alloy

Dimensions: Overall: 14 11/16 x 12 7/8 x 5 5/8 in. (37.3 x 32.7 x 14.3 cm)
Weight PD: 146.5oz. (4153g)

Classification: Metalwork-Copper alloy

Credit Line: Gift of Irwin Untermyer, 1964

Accession Number: 64.101.1492


The slim, upright figure of the knight with his feet thrust forward in the stirrups is a counterpoint to the powerful curves and massive body of the horse in this accomplished sculpture. It is one of the finest of a group of such equestrian aquamanilia. The knight wears a helm surmounted by the remains of a crest, a mail shirt with long sleeves covering his hands, mail leggings covered by padded leg protection, and a surcoat decorated with chevrons. He wears prick spurs on his feet, and the fittings for his shield, now lost, can be seen on the left side. He holds the reins of the horse in his left hand, and the extended right hand likely held a lance (or possibly a sword). The aquamanile is filled through the hinged top of the helm and the spout is formed by the horse's forelock. The stylistic details of the armor are consistent with a date of the middle of the thirteenth century.