THE BASIN-BEATERS OF NUREMBERG
The City of Nuremberg was unique in that its trades were not grouped into guilds but were administered by the town council, a select group of powerful mercantile familes. This system fostered an early form of capitalism which made the city the most important in Europe for the metalworking trades. The basin beaters were pre-eminent and produced huge numbers of bowls and basins in the 15th and 16th Centuries.
Sheet brass was worked into the correct shape and trimmed on a lathe. Decoration was then applied by iron punches and metal stamps. The subjects found on basins are scenes from classical antiquity, scenes from the Old or New Testament and allegorical motifs such as a Pelican symbolizing maternal love or a Stag symbolising the hunt. Later broader dishes often with bands of meaningless script or scroll-like waves sometimes incorporated mould-cast decoration.