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Decorative Arts

On View: American Identities: A New Look, American Landscape/Colony to Nation, 5th Floor

A tankard made out of valuable material was part of its owner's capital. In the eighteenth century, a tankard might cost more than the annual income of most workers. The tankard was used communally, passed around filled with beer or ale. It helped to cement social bonds while it enhanced the status of the owner. The silver coin on this example's lid underscores that the tankard is made from the same material as money.

  • Place Made: United States
  • DATES ca. 1715
    DIMENSIONS 7 x 8 1/4 in. (17.8 x 21 cm) Base diameter: 5 7/8 in. (14.9 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS On handle, "SS" [for Simeon Soumaine, maker]
    INSCRIPTIONS Incised on the tankard as noted in description: "LEOPOLDUS D. G. ARCHIDUX AUSTRIAE"; "DUZ BRGUNDI COMES TIROLIS"; and on the handle, the initials "V K / A G"
    COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
    CREDIT LINE Bequest of Samuel E. Haslett
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Tankard, ca. 1715. Silver, 7 x 8 1/4 in. (17.8 x 21 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Samuel E. Haslett, 20.793. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, composite view, 20.793_view1_glass_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Large cylindrical tankard is larger in diameter at the base than at the rim. There are narrow bands of molding around the base, and above it, a border of saw tooth-edged leaf motifs. There is a round cover with projecting edge serrated in the front. A silver medal is inset into the center of the cover. On one side is the bust of a duke in armor, crowned and holding a scepter and globe. At the right is the date 1632. Around him is an inscription: "LEOPOLDUS D. G. ARCHIDUX AUSTRIAE." On the other side is a blazoned a shield surmounted by a crown and encircled with the inscription: "DUZ BRUGUNDI COMES TIROLIS." There is a corkscrew thumb-piece and hinge fastened to the heavy silver handle. The initials "V K A G" are found beneath. There is a cherub's head on the handle as well as on the tip. Condition: Good
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