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Wassail Bowl

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1965T355
Collection:Social History - Pinto Collection
Date:1650 - 1700


Wassail bowl turned from lignum vitae wood around 1650 - 1700. Wassail bowls were used for communal drinking at special occasions in England, particularly at Christmas time. Although the wassail drink differed from region to region, it usually contained a mixture of warm ale, sugar, nutmeg and eggs. The term 'wassail' comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'waes-hael', which was the equivalent of the drinking toast 'good health' today.Lignum vitae wood was a particular choice for making wassail bowls in the seventeenth century as it was widely believed that the wood contained medicinal properties which would cure disease.

Purchased from Edward H Pinto, 1965.

Further Information

Production Period:17th century
Material(s):Lignum vitae wood
Place of Origin:England


Height:31.3 cm
Diameter:29 cm