Acquamanili, or vases with metal basins used to wash hands, were among the most artistic objects of use in the Middle Ages, boasting ancient traditions and a wide range of shapes. Each magnificent, one-of-a-kind piece presented in this volume features an evergreen design applied to the animal and fairy-tale worlds.
Objects of use in the Middle Ages, acquamanili stand out for the faded beauty of their design. Hand washing was a religious and domestic ritual; in the wake of ancient and Islamic models, feudal Europe gave these lustral basins the guise of horses, dragons, griffins and mermaids, creating a fantastic hydraulic bestiary enhanced by bright metallic gleams. Commonly-used – yet refined and striking – objects, these exquisite basins are both historical evidence and works of art.