Covered Tankard

Object Details

Title:

Covered Tankard

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Bohemian

Date:

1578

Medium:

Free-blown colorless (brownish-green) glass with enamel and applied decoration and pewter mounts

Dimensions:

27 cm (10 5/8 in.)

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Under the inscription King Herod has the innocent children miserably killed, King Herod sits enthroned in a curtained enclosure, witnessing four soldiers murdering small children while their mothers struggle. In addition to such biblical scenes, other common subjects for enameled drinking vessels included hunting, allegorical, genre, and heraldic themes.

Large vessels such as this tankard usually held beer, which had been consumed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Europe since the Middle Ages. A French visitor to Germany in 1688 provided this commentary on Germanic drinking habits:

You know the Germans are strange Drinkers; there are no People in the World more obliging, civil, and officious; but they have terrible Customs as to the Point of Drinking…Every Draught must be a Health [toast], and as soon as you have emptied your Glass, you must present it full to him whose health you drank….Do but reflect a little on these Customs, and see how much it is impossible to leave off drinking.

Bibliography

Saldern, Axel von. German Enameled Glass (Corning, 1965), p. 92, fig. 114.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), p. 251, no. 220.

"Recent Important Acquisitions Made by Public and Private Collections in the United States and Abroad." Journal of Glass Studies 28 (1986), p. 105, no. 24.

Bremer-David, Charissa et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), pp. 254-55, no. 449.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 219, no. 442.