Situla or aspersorium (Holy water bucket)
Portugal
1521 <> 1525
The representation of symbols from the royal insignia, such as the Cross of Christ, the armillary sphere and the Portuguese coat of arms, which stand for the Kingdom and the king’s power and sovereignty, occur in all the four objects that are the remainder of the set of 20 vessels commissioned by King Manuel I for Funchal Cathedral.
The occurrence of such elements within the context of religious practices is, to some extent, an expression of the divine theory of kingship—the King’s power was granted by the will of God, and thus indisputable.
An embossed armillary sphere in the interior of the situla stands out as a symbol of the King and the State. The symbolism of the orb reminds us of the maritime power of the Portuguese, in connection to navigation and overseas expansion, and of which evangelization was also an integral part.

Embossed and chased silver
Dimensions: width: 24,5 cm height: 21,3 cm

Commissioned by King Manuel I for the Cathedral of Funchal
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Silversmithery
16th century
Antwerp
Lisbon
Limestone
Salver
Aspersorium