German / Ewer with Wild Man Finial / ca. 1500German
Ewer with Wild Man Finial
ca. 1500

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Creator Nationality: European; Northern European; German
Creator Name-CRT: German
Title: Ewer with Wild Man Finial
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1480
Creation End Date: 1520
Creation Date: ca. 1500
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Metalwork-Silver
Materials and Techniques: Silver, silver-gilt, painted and enameled decoration
Dimensions: H. 25 in. (63.5 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 53.20.2
Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1953

This splendid ewer, topped with a finial in the form of a wild man, is one of a pair in The Cloisters collection. The wild man was a mythical woodland creature intended to symbolize the fortitude and might of its owner, possibly Hartmann von Stockheim, German master of the Order of Teutonic Knights from 1499 to 1510 or 1513. Originally regarded as brutish and irrational, by the time of his portrayal on this ewer he was perceived as the embodiment of legendary Germanic strength and endurance. Such a standard would have been an appropriate choice for an order of knights that took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and was a powerful military force in Germany at the turn of the sixteenth century. Holding the traditional attributes of club and armorial shield (once bearing a coat of arms), the wild man at once announced and protected the ewer's ownership. In most cases, the kneeling wild man's defense is only symbolic, but here a toothed and clawed dragon-forming the ewer's handle-represents a tangible threat.

AMICA ID: MMA_.53.20.2
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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