Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

GLASS GOBLETS OF THE MIDDLE AGES

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on November 22, 2020

GOBLETS OF THE LATE MIDDLE AGES

Goblet from Germany first half of the 16th century in the Collection of Karl Amendt Krefeld

The Middle Ages is a period of European history between the decline of the Roman Empire in the 5th century A.D. and the dawn of the Renaissance in the 15th century Italy.  The Western Roman Empire ended more or less at the end of the 5th century.  The Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium, ended in 1453 when the Sultan Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople and formed an Islamic state at the eastern borders of Europe.

During the 1,000 years of the Middle Ages also referred to as the Dark Ages, Europe underwent profound changes.  The Middle Ages can be divided into three periods: The Early Middle Ages from the 5th to the 8th century some scholars refer to this as the Migration Period(active link).  The Central Middle Ages starting with the 8th to the 11th and the Late Middle Ages 12th to 14th centuries.

Glass from the Early and Central Middle Ages is mostly a story of drinking vessels, bowls, cups, beakers, drinking horns, and bottles. In the later period drinking vessels start to decline in importance with the rise of stained glass used for the windows of cathedrals.  Goblets of the Late Middle Ages where not as refined as those of the Venetian and Façon de Venise period but they had a strong masculine beauty. Most of the glass vessels produced at this time came from northern Germany, the Low Countries, and central Europe and were made of transparent green Waldglas or forest glass.  The color came from the presence of impurities (iron oxide) in the raw materials.  This type of glass particularly the Berkemeyer (active link) and Krautstrunk(active link) evolved in the 17th century into the Roemer(active link).

This post is a pictorial of goblets from when they first appeared in the 11th to the 15th century to the beginning of the  Renaissance. 

Sketch of rare glass goblets from the 13th and 14th century interpreted from fragments

Hedwig Beaker Late 12th C. in the collection of The Corning Museum of Glass

Hedwig Beakers

Hedwig beakers form a small but famous group of vessels. They share several characteristics: the same form (beakers with a straight, tapering side), the same finishing techniques (decorated by cutting), and the same shallow faceting of the upper wall in order to display the ornament in relief. The beakers range in height from 8.3 to 14.6 centimeters. All are colorless or nearly colorless. The repertoire of motifs is varied: lions, eagles, griffins, and the tree of life are recurrent elements, but we also find a chalice, a crescent moon and stars, palmettos, and abstract or geometric motifs. It appears these objects were designed to be fitted with gold mounts to be used as goblets. Below are beakers as they appear in their gold mounts and one with a lid.  Additional information about the Hedwig Beaker can be found at Corning Museum of Glass(active link)

Below are Two Hedwig beakers shown in their gold mounts

One Response

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  1. wynkin said, on November 22, 2020 at 6:23 am

    Absolutely incredible, what beauty!


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