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On view at the Museum: The Society Sector

Friendship cup

Contemporary Era, Europe
AL7316

This contemporary 'friendship cup' is typical of those made by artisans from the Aosta Valley, and highlights how people have always cherished spending time together around objects that symbolise companionship and sharing.

A friendship cup is made of wood, and has two to eight spouts and a lid. Invented in the 20th century, it is related to the grolla, a vessel made of fine wood on a small base, that originated in the same region. While a grolla is normally for wine, a friendship cup is for coffee, prepared in local Aostan style, with spices, citrus fruit, and flaming grappa. A symbol of conviviality, it represents a tradition still alive today: The vessel is passed around, so that each guest can drink from one of its spouts until it is empty.

In both its form and use, the friendship cup follows the tradition of communal drinking vessels, e.g. the Ancient Greek krater, the Holy Chalice, or the large bowl typically used in the Japanese tea ceremony.

Datasheet

  • Type: Drinking vessel
  • Place of origin: Italy
  • Materials and techniques: Wood
  • Date: 2000
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 23.5 cm
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