South-/Middle Germany, dated 25.06.1530
Pear tree root wood, turned, engraved silver setting, gilded
H. 16 cm (just goblet); H. 12,2 cm (lid); W. 17,5 cm (with handle); Diam. 14,5 cm (Kuppa);
Historisches Museum Basel, Switzerland, donation Hans Burckhardt-Burckhardt, Basel, Inv. No. 1922.195.
The Historisches Museum Basel owns a set of drinking vessels made out of curled wood, which were common in Germany and Switzerland from the 13th century onwards. These cups, also known as “Doppelkopf”, were supposed to have the power, thanks to their material, to remove poison from beverages. Only about 50 have survived until today. Amongst them are commemorative cups for outstanding personalities, one of those is the “Zwinglibecher” in Zurich. The “Lutherpokal” has an engraved Latin inscription, which is situated in the tiara-shaped lid: the inscription records that this cup was given to Martin Luther as a present from Elector John the Constant of Saxony on 25. June 1530. On this memorable day at the Diet in Augsburg the emperor was handed the Augsburg Confession, which is considered to be the most important confessional document of the Lutheran church. During the Napoleonic occupation of Wittenberg the cup was taken sometime after 1806 into the possession of a commander of the Alsatian regiment, Colonel de Graaf, and came before 1846 form his family back to Basel.