A Moor as a wager-cup
Meinrad I Bauch (master 1575-1623)
Silver cast, embossed, engraved, chased, punched and fire-gilt
City mark (Nürnberg 2007, BZ12), maker’s mark MB (Nürnberg 2007, MZ0030) and assay groove on the rim
Height 19 cm, diameter at rim 9 cm
Weight 275 g
Published in: Laue, G.: Tresor. Treasures for European Kunstkammer, Munich 2017, pp. 122-123, pp. 213-214, Cat. No. 23
This showy drinking vessel belongs to a type of wager-cup that is usually called Jungfrauenbecher [Maiden beakers]: whereas the maiden’s skirt forms the cup of the beaker, her torso and uplifted arms serve as the handle. The present silver wager-cup is, however, not a young girl but a Moor, whose short, curly hair and broad nose identify him as such. The lip of the bowl bears the master maker’s mark of the goldsmith Meinrad I Bauch (master 1575-1623) and the Nuremberg city mark that was in use from 1603 until 1609. Bauch specialized in wager-cups and several similar objects by this master are extant, for instance, in the Green Vault in Dresden and the State Hermitage in St Petersburg. Another remarkable work by Bauch is in the Kremlin Armoury: a wager-cup in the form of a Turk, which bears the same city mark as the present object and is identical in form, size and decoration to it. This proves that Bauch made the present Moor wager-cup as the companion-piece to the Moscow Turk wager-cup – evidently with the idea of improving on the traditional Jungfrauenbecher type by lending it an exotic touch.