Dragon Aquamanile, 1200 AD, Copper Alloy, Northern Germany, 22 x18 cm., The Cloisters Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
An aquamanile is a vessel made specifically to hold water for hand-washing. Most of the Middle-Ages aquamaniles are fashioned from copper or bronze, an alloy of copper and tin with other metals. The artists used a lost was process, a time consuming and complicated process, to fashion these hollow figures. This process has been in use since the 4th century B.C.