Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Aquamanile; bronze; form of a lion and rider; rider sits upright astride lion's back, arms gripping its ears; between lion's ears a square-shaped hole covered by a lid which allows liquid to be poured into the lion; from his mouth spring the head and shoulders of a man, whose arms clasp the lion's teeth; from the hind-quarters to the rider's neck springs an animal forming a handle.


  • Date

    • 13thC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 310 millimetres
    • Width: 157 millimetres
    • Depth: 330 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Blurton 1997
    An aquamanile is a vessel made of bronze or pottery that was used for holding water for the washing of hands before meals. They are often shaped as animals. Human figures usually appear as part of the composition, fighting with or riding the animal. This vessel in the form of a lion includes two figures. The first, on the animal's back has his legs against the lion's neck and controls the beast by holding on to each of its ears, one in each hand. The second figure, whose body forms the spout of the vessel, grasps the lion's mouth with his hands. The two figures may represent debased images of the Old Testament prophet, Samson, who is famous for having fought and killed a lion.


  • Bibliography

    • Blurton 1997 216 bibliographic details
    • Robinson 2008 p. 236 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G40/dc3

  • Exhibition history

    2005 8 May-4 Sep, Germany, Magdeburg, Kulturhistorisches Museum, Magdeburg 1200 - Medieval Metropolis, Prussian Stronghold, State Capital, The History of the City 805-2005
    1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
    1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: MCM7559

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