Chalice

Germany, Wasserburg
Late Gothic, early sixteenth Century, dated '1525'

 

Silver, marked on the base with the mark of the City of Wasserburg and several assayer marks verso, fully gilded, with later additions to the stem and two minor fractures at the rim of the cuppa.
H. 20,5 cm.
 

Provenance

Chruch of Mariä Himmelfahrt, Schnaitsee, Germany



In Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism a chalice is a standing cup used to hold sacramental wine during the ‘Eucharist’ or the ‘Holy Communion’. Chalices have been used since the early church. Because of Jesus' command to his disciples to "Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19), and Paul's account of the Eucharistic rite in 1 Corinthians 11:24-25, the celebration of the Eucharist became central to Christian liturgy. Naturally, the vessels used in this important act of worship were highly decorated and treated with great respect.

 

Over time, official church regulations dictated the construction, blessing, and treatment of chalices. Since the chalice is considered to be one of the most sacred vessels in Christian liturgical worship, it is consecrated before use by being anointed with chrism, a consecration that could only be performed by a bishop or abbot.

 

Notable on the present chalice is the detailed Gothic tracery consisting of a branch-motive, running up from the rectangular cartouche bearing the date, over the stem and node to the cup. The stem of the chalice has been extended by adding two segments, in order to make the chalice slightly higher. During the Baroque period the shape of the chalice changed into a prolonged type, with a higher stem. Arguably, this chalice was converted to its present shape in order to suite the chanced taste.
 



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