The Symbolic Power of Lions in Romanesque Vessels

Discover the story behind the lion aquamanile and its cultural significance in the Byzantine and Holy Roman Empire with Blumka

Sunday, March 19

2PM – 2.30PM CET

Stand 212, MECC Maastricht

Register to attend


The aquamanile—a ewer or pouring vessel—arrived in Europe as a result of the crusades and the spread of Byzantine culture. These bronze vessels became favorites among Romanesque sculptured objects in the Holy Roman Empire, used for handwashing during liturgical rituals and during mealtimes in a secular context. Many aquamaniles were made in the forms of animals—griffins and horses were popular subjects, but the lion was the most sought-after motif. Representing the most majestic of animals, the lion had positive connotations in both the Eastern and Western world. The lion aquamanile was a symbolic embodiment of the ideal characteristics of a courtly person; a certain identification of the user with the characteristics of the animal, such as strength, courage and generosity, was intended.

TEFAF Meet the Experts programs celebrate the expertise of our world-renowned exhibitors, spotlighting exceptional objects and the stories they tell across categories and 7,000 years of history.

Location & Access

TEFAF Meet the Experts programs are hosted at exhibitors’ stands at TEFAF Maastricht. Please note that TEFAF Programming is free with a valid ticket to TEFAF Maastricht and seating is limited.

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