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Details Originally a Persian tradition, aquamanilia were first made out of metal, typically copper or bronze, and were used to pour water for hand washing during both religious and secular rituals. These elaborated vessels, shaped like animals and humans, were clearly a huge part of Medieval society as hundreds of examples survive and are on display in museums around the world.
When this tradition reached Europe in the twelfth century, lasting till the fifteenth century, many beautiful metal examples were made for high-status houses. Not to be outdone, more humble households would have one made of pottery, and the potters working at this time would have taken inspiration from the metal examples they had seen. This is a tradition that we are carrying on with our range of aquamaniles, which are all inspired by examples of metal aquamaniles from the medieval period.
Aristotle and Phyllis
This Aquamanile is inspired by an example from the late 14th century Netherlands and is based on the legend of Aristotle and Phyllis, which has several versions and is often seen as a cautionary tale. One version goes like this. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and tutor to Alexander the Great, could see his pupil was becoming distracted by the beautiful courtesan Phyllis. In order to get Alexander's thoughts back on state affairs, Aristotle warned him to avoid Phyllis and her charms. On hearing this, Phyllis took her revenge by seducing Aristotle so thoroughly that he allowed her to ride him like a horse around the palace gardens. Depending on the telling, he may or may not have been wearing clothes….
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Terracotta clay with polychrome decoration.
Approx. 225 mm tall, 295 mm long, 120 mm wide
As with all my Museum Quality Replicas, I try to work in a way that is as close as possible to the methods used by the ancient craftsmen and women who created the original. This pot has been made entirely by hand using natural materials and tools that are replicas of those used by the original maker.
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All items are sent using a second-class postal service. If you wish to have an item sent first class, please contact us for a quote. Many Thanks
RETURNS If you aren't completely satisfied with your Potted History piece, please get in touch to organise a return. Email us at
Then you can send it back at your own cost in an unused condition within 30 days, and we'll refund you for the cost of the item or items returned. If you include your order number with the returned package, that will speed things up. Please leave any original packaging intact.
Please be aware that due to items being handmade and finished, colour variations will occur during the making process, and each replica will have some differences. Also, know that the item photographed may not be the one that you receive, and colours can appear differently on different screens. Please ensure you look at all the images to get a fully formed idea of the item you are ordering as we try to capture the variations within the images we share. If you prefer a specific colour variation, please contact us before ordering.