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Aquamanile Purchased by the Hispanic Society US
A South American Colonial Silver Aquamanile
There is a long tradition of vessels in animal forms and a silver aquamanile would have been an important status symbol. They were used both in secular and religious contexts for the symbolic washing of hands. The lion's crown detaches to reveal a container into which water could be poured which would then emerge from the mouth of the beast. However it appears that they were also adapted for perfume and the burning of incense as appears to be the case in this example. The small receptacle which slides from the side of the body probably held the burning incense; the perfumed vapours escaping through the pierced detachable cover.
The lion is an appropriate animal for such a prestigious object as it symbolises strength in many cultures including the Incas of Peru.
Length 23 cm Height 25 cm (9.25 x 10 in)
Silberschätze aus Südamerika 1700-1900 pub. 1981 Germany
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