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Finding Faith: This medieval beer jug has quite a head on it


Public Domain

Lucien de Guise - published on 01/26/20

An object that testifies to the role monasteries played in the brewing of beer.

A series that looks at the visual arts for signs of the universal Church in sometimes unexpected places.

Monasteries have been major brewers for centuries. Although wine was a sacramental drink, beer was a useful form of revenue. The role of monks — and their interest in the product — was so widely understood, potters with a sense of humor would sometimes refer it. This pouring spout from a 14th-century beer jug was made in England, parodying the face of a monk.

Photographed by Lucien de Guise (at the British Museum)
The beer pitcher on left is circa 1200 and the monk head spout is circa 1300. Both are from England.

Lucien de Guise is on Instagram @crossxcultural. As a Catholic writer, editor, curator and former museum director, his aim is to build bridges through art.

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