Griffin drinking vessel, belonging to the Gesellschaft zum Greifen (corporation of the Griffin)

Sebastian Schilling 1, Basle, 1606
Silver, cast, embossed, chased, gilded
height 32 cm, weight 1498 g, capacity 0.42 I
Inv. 1895.139.

It is already described as established practice in the 1597 'Regiment und Ordnung' (rule and order) of the city that each year the three 'honourable societies' of Kleinbasel held an armed procession and that each corporation led a living representation of its identifying emblem on a chain. The corporations' emblems were as follows: the Gesellschaft zum Rebhaus, a lion; the Gesellschaft zum Haren, a wildman; the Gesellschaft zum Greifen, a griffin. This practice is still observed on 'Vogel Gryff Tag' (griffin day). Silver gilt drinking vessels in the shape of the corporations' emblems had also long been used, and continue to be used, in the ceremonial of corporation banquets. This striding griffin is not the customary mixture of eagle and lion, but has, in addition, horse's hooves and dog's ears: it may be inspired by Martin Schongauer s engraving of a griffin. Five medallions hung on the vessel add to its value.

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