This fascinating book explores the history, techniques, and cultural significance of medieval aquamanilia, cast metal objects used to pour water for hand washing in religious and secular contexts. Usually created in appealing animal or human forms, aquamanilia feature two openings, one for filling and the other for pouring. They represent the first emergence of hollow-cast vessels in Western Europe and a significant development in the history of technology. The book presents and catalogues the entire aquamanilia collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time, as well as selected examples from other collections and other related medieval objects.

Peter Barnet is Michel David-Weill curator in charge, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pete Dandridge is a conservator in the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Table of Contents
Susan Weber Soros

Philippe De Montebello

Note to the Reader

Chapter 1: “Beasts of Every Land and Clime”: An Introduction to Medieval Aquamanilia
Peter Barnet

Chapter 2: Late Gothic Aquamanilia from Nuremberg
Ursula Mende

Chapter 3: Exquisite Objects, Prodigious Technique: Aquamanilia, Vessels of the Middle Ages
Pete Dandridge

Chapter 4: Analysis of of Core and Investment Samples from Some Aquamanilia
Richard Newman


Aquamanilia: Peter Barnet and Pete Dandridge
Related Objects: Leslie Bussis Tait