Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Aquamanile in the form of an equestrian knight; copper alloy; the knight is firmly seated in the saddle and turns slightly to the lance side; the helmet is flat-topped with a trefoil in relief at the front and there is a slit for the eyes that ends in a trefoil; over protective mail is a surcoat engraved with alternating fleurs-de-lis and stars in a diamond pattern with cross-hatched lines; the bridle and breastband are in relief, and decorated with rosettes; the.lance, shield, lid of helmet, feet of knight and horse's tail missing


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1275-1300 (about)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 333 millimetres
    • Width: 250 millimetres
    • Depth: 112 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Text from Alexander & Binski, 1987, see bibliography:
    'This aquamanile was filled through the top of the helmet and emptied through the spout on the forehead of the horse. A number of aquamaniles with knights on horseback have survived, but this example is not particularly close to any of them. The modelling of the horse and knight is of particularly high quality. The find place has been taken to mean that this aquamanile was produced in England, and there is nothing in the armour or decoration to contradict this.'Aquamaniles demonstrate the influence of metal forms on pottery vessels. For a pottery aquamanile of similar form in the Department of Prehistory and Europe, see Registration Number 1874.1101,1. Both are in the form of a knight on horseback.Aquamaniles are vessels used for the washing of
    hands at meal times. This example is modelled in
    the shape of a knight on horseback.It was filled
    through the hole in the top of the helmet and
    emptied through the spout in the horse’s head.
    Horses, although expensive, were essential for a
    knight. They were used for jousting, warfare and
    transportation during long military campaigns.


  • Bibliography

    • Alexander & Binski 1987 no.154 bibliographic details
    • Pradel et al 1968 no.503 bibliographic details
    • Robinson 2008 p. 241 bibliographic details
    • Freestone & Gaimster 1997 p.92, fig.1 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G40/dc10/sD

  • Exhibition history

    2003 26 Apr-24 Aug, USA, Lexington, Kentucky Horse Park, All the Queen’s Horses
    1995 13 May-31 Oct, Italy, Tirol, Südtiroler Landesmuseum, A Prince’s Dream : Meinhard II – The Genesis of Tirol
    1989 24 Aug-26 Nov, Germany, Hamburg, Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte, Die Hanse Lebenswirklichkeit und Mythos
    1987-1988 6 Nov-6 Mar, London, Royal Academy of Arts, Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England 1200-1400

  • Condition

    the.lance, shield, lid of helmet, feet of knight and horse's tail missing

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: Bronze aquamanile


COMPASS Title: Bronze aquamanile

Image description



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Object reference number: MCM7026

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