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Herrengrund Cup with a Verse

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The rhyme engraved around the rim of this cup is a little more obscure than usual, especially in translation, but alludes to the particular property of the water in the Herrengrund region. It suggests that Mars will soon be upside down in Venus, as Heerengrund has taught us, i.e. base iron will be turned into copper, and explains the cup's history and original appeal, whereby the peculiar geological properties of the region gave the local water a high concentration of copper sulphate. When iron scraps were placed in hollows where the water collected the reaction with the copper sulphate precipitated copper out of solution. This copper either settled as a sludge or formed a crust over the surface of the iron. This gave rise to the legend that the water had mysterious, if not magical, properties. Such cups are often engraved with rhymes or riddles along these lines and some are adorned with small models of miners at work. These puzzle cups were popular throughout Europe from around 1500 to the middle of the 18th century, after which time popular knowledge of chemistry increased and this type of object inevitably became less attractive. Hungary, circa 1700

rim dia 3" h 1 7/8"in

Item Code: 1845

£ 725

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