Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Unusual Artifacts: A Dutch Mill-Glass, 1570

Dutch Mill Glass
Mouth-Blown Glass with diamond point engraving and a silver mount.
Glass: 1570.  Mount:  c. Nineteenth Century
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Though we tend to think of drinking games as being a modern invention isolated to college fraternities, the phenomenon has been around since the Sixteenth Century (or at least documented since then).
  Such sport was quite popular in the Netherlands where special objects were created to encourage alcohol consumption in a social and playful manner.

Here’s such an object.
  Here we see a goblet which was specially crafted for use in a drinking game. When the whistle is blown, both the windmill and the hands of the clock start turning.At this time, the drinker would have been called upon to empty the entire contents of the glass before the windmill stopped turning.  If the drinker failed, the glass was refilled and he had to try again as many times as indicated by the clock.

The windmill mounted to the goblet most likely dates from around 1800--replacing an earlier, similar mount. 
 However, the engraving on the glass is contemporary with the glass itself—around 1570—and it is written so it can be read only when the glass is turned upside down.

The glass is engraved with a diamond point with scrolls and the inscription: “CONCORDE EN VNITE.”

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