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Cruet (ecclesiastical)

School/style: Winchester style

Cultures/periods: Late Anglo-Saxon; Ottonian

Production date: 10thC (first half)

Materials: copper alloy; gold

A vessel with a spout of gilded copper alloy, cast, with inverted rim, rounded abdomen and belted foot, decorated with incised and relief ornamentation; possibly a mug. The handle is in the form of a snake wriggling out of the head of the animal at the rim, where there are remnants of a hinge for the lid, now lost. The spout is in the form of an animal head with lenticular eyes, a collar with notched grooves and spiral-shaped shoulders over a subtriangular fluted breast. Above the spout there is an image of a winged quadruped holding its tail and biting its own front paw. The vessel's body is decorated with two groups of five reliefs symmetrically placed on either side of the spout and separated by small animal masks. Each relief consists of a pair of birds with armored wings, pecking the central foliage. The foot is surrounded by a simple molding and decorated with a continuous formalized palmette ornament on a background of pointillism. The underside of the foot is also gilded.