Serpentine and silver-gilt mount beaker

Late 16th or early 17th century
Serpentine and silver-gilt mounts
11 7/8 × 8 13/16 × 6 1/8 in. (30.2 × 22.4 × 15.6 cm)
Marks (on the lid): GH or CH
Gift of Alexis Gregory, 2021
Photo Joseph Coscia Jr.



A hardstone known since antiquity, serpentine was believed to protect against disease and neutralize poison. This large tankard has two thin rings toward the base. The band in the middle of the body is gilded like the rest of the mounts and decorated with motifs such as acanthus leaves. The lid is composed of two convex ornaments with a dart frieze and has repoussé scroll motifs and masks. The S-shaped handle has an animal head—perhaps a dragon—modeled in the round. The lid is decorated with a pinecone. Marks are visible in two places, but the goldsmith has not been identified.

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