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Goldsmith’s Art

Pail drinking vessel, of the Weinleutenzunft (vintners' guild)

Key data

Dated 1613; Hans Lupold, Basle

Silver, cast, embossed, chased, engraved, parcel gilt, height 19 cm

Inv. 1889.13.


The Zunft zu Weinleuten (vintners' guild) bears a measuring pail on its coat of arms. A measuring pail, a calibrated container with a long thin spout, was used to calculate the wine tax that was one of the city's most important sources of income. Given the form of a wooden measuring pail, the silver drinking vessel evokes the different professions involved in the trade and sale of wine united in this major guild including also clerks, notaries and city officials. It nicely illustrates the use of multiple reproduced images, whether engravings or lead castings, as sources for figurative ornament in goldsmiths' work. Thus the cast hoop around the bottom of the pail is copied from the peasant dance by Hans Holbein the Younger and one of the reliefs on the upper hoop is inspired by Peter Flotner's plaquette of Gluttony from his series of the Seven Deadly Sins. The lockable lid is engraved with a scene of drinking burghers. On the inside the base has the coat of arms of the guild and the inscription, "Dise Gelden wart gemachd ist war, im 1613. Iar" (This pail was made, and this is true, in the year 1613).

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