11043

A TULIP FORM SILVER POKAL BY SIMON LANG AND MARKED WITH HEBREW LETTERS

Nuremberg. Circa 1660.

Measurements

Height: 9 1/2" (24.1 cm); Depth: 4" (10.2 cm);

Research:

Of parcel-gilt silver. With tulip cup upper section resting upon a naturalistically cast stem issuing flowerheads and tendrils. The splaying base with stylized flower cast decoration.

Marks:
Bears the silver hallmarks for Simon Lang and Nuremburg.
Marked at the base with a Hebrew inscription of unknown meaning.

This type of vessel is called a pokal, “one of the most spectacular and characteristic types of secular treasures fashioned by the Renaissance goldsmiths active in Augsburg, Nuremberg, and elsewhere in Germany.”1 Although defined simply as a cup on a high stem, “the term is usually reserved for a goblet of some distinction, suitable for ceremonial purposes or presentation, and fitted with a cover.”2 Indeed, these vessels were not mass-produced or made for daily use, but were given as diplomatic presents and reserved for special ceremonies. “Rich burghers [also] exchanged them as wedding gifts or retained and cherished them as reminders of their own wealth and lofty social status.”3

The present piece bears the silver hallmarks for Simon Lang and Nuremburg. Lang (c. 1608-1671) was a goldsmith made master in Nuremberg on August 24, 1645. Guild membership required a candidate to submit a gold ring, seal-die, and masterpiece pokal before their acceptance as a master goldsmith. It was not until he reached the age of 37 that Lang began working on his masterpieces. Nevertheless, a number of his works, among which shell-form pokals are particularly well represented, have survived.

Our example takes the shape of a tulip; the main flowerhead forms the upper cup section and rests upon a naturalistically cast stem issuing flowerheads and tendrils. The splaying base is decorated with stylized flower cast decoration. The upper section, stem, base and tendrils were all cast separately and fasten by being screwed together. Tulip-form cups were  popular in the second half of the 17th century and were apparently a specialty of the Nuremberg Goldsmiths.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.