Basin - Styles and Influences
Nuremberg; ca. 1600
This large, richly decorated basin was exclusively intended for decoration. The proud owners of such a plate, usually members of the middle class who had got rich by trade and banking, exhibited them in special cabinet cupboards for guests to admire, as a proof of their material and social status and enlightenment. In shape and decoration the basin shows all the distinctive stylistic features of Mannerism in silver-work. The surface is embossed. Following Mannerist patterning the wreath on the rim of the basin is decorated by a complex plait with masks of human and lion heads, herms in various shapes, monsters with bodies like four-legged animals and the head of a bearded dwarf, winged horses, birds with long necks, snakes trapped in ribbons and tendrils.