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Cruets are holders for the wine and water used during Mass. They have a domestic aspect, being based on household items such as water or wine jugs. The dimensions for such articles were established after the Council of Constance (AD 1414-1418); earlier, such containers were much larger, and used for bread and wine alone.


Each of these cruets consists of a translucent glass container partly covered in sinuous silver ornamentation with silver-decorated glass stoppers and handles. Some aspects, such as the curving plant and shell motifs, acanthus leaves, and lavish floral decoration, are typical of 18th century European taste. Despite this (mainly Italianate) influence, the overall effect of these cruets recalls the grace and elegance of Mughal- or Persian-style perfume bottles and wine ewers. The retaining bands around the cruets carry the characteristic Indo-Portuguese pearl design.


The silver base is also decorated with floral and vegetal flourishes; in its middle can be seen a winged angel. The base has handles and stands on four feet, all ornamented with plant motifs.

TIME PERIOD: 18th century
MATERIAL: silver/ glass
DIMENSIONS: Cruets: 17.5 x 10.5 x (base) ø5 cm Tray: 30.8 x 15 x 9.3 cm
INVENTORY NUMBER: 01.1.35 a), b) and c)
Old Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus

Museum of Christian Art, Convent of Santa Monica, Goa, India, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, 2011.