Imperial Eagle Beaker (Reichsadlerhumpen)

Object Details

Title:

Imperial Eagle Beaker (Reichsadlerhumpen)

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Bohemian or German

Place:

Central Germany (possibly) Germany Europe Bohemia (probably) Czech Republic Europe (Place created)

Date:

1599

Medium:

Free-blown colorless (greenish-brown) glass with gold leaf and enamel decoration

Object Number:

84.DK.558

Dimensions:

29.2 cm (11 1/2 in.)

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One of the most common themes used to decorate German enameled glasses during the 1500s and 1600s was the Reichsadleror Imperial Eagle. The decoration symbolized the unity of the Holy Roman Empire, with the double-headed eagle as the emblem of the empire and the coat of arms on its wings representing the four different orders of society. This classification did not correspond to political reality; instead, it presented an idealized image of unity where little existed.

The Reichsadlerhumpenwas often used as a "welcome glass" and was intended to be used at fraternal celebrations. A gentleman, appropriately dubbing himself Blasius Multibibus ("who drinks a lot"), wrote in 1616:

One must demand to be surrounded by merry young fellows and good friends, wipe the dust off the Roman Empire [beaker] and other drinking [vessels], and thus get on with merry tippling and carousals.