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Mr. Cecil Brent exhibited a small bronze Roman eagle, dug up in the neighbourhood of Richborough, Kent, in 1819. It was in good preservation.

The rev. Thos. Hugo exhibited a large brass of Hadrian, found during some excavations, in August last, in High-street, Southwark. The obverse represented a laureated head of the emperor HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS PP; the reverse, Plenty with a cornucopia, HILARITAS PR. COS. III, in the


Mr. Charles Beauchamp exhibited, through J. R. Planché, esq., Martin Luther's wedding ring. It is made of foreign gold, and appears also to have been gilt. On the inside is engraved the following inscription: "D. MARTINO LUTHERO, CATHERINA BOREU, 13o Junii 1525”, the day of his marriage. The ring forms an entire cross, on which is a figure of the Saviour, over whose head a large ruby is set, serving as a nimbus, and above, on a label, are the letters INRI. Emblems of the crucifixion are continued round the ring. It lately came into the possession of a gentleman by the death of his uncle, at the age of sixty-nine years, who related that it had been in his father's possession as long as he could remember. His ancestors were of a noble family in Wittemberg (the burial-place of Luther).

The following communication was read by its author, H. Syer Cuming, esq.


"The name ascos, in its primitive and more restricted sense, was applied by the Greeks to various sized vessels, formed of the skins of kids, goats, pigs, and oxen. In forming the ascos the head and feet of the beast were cut off, and the carcase extracted without opening the belly: the apertures produced by the removal of the feet being carefully sewed up; the neck serving as the mouth of the vessel; which, when filled with water, milk, oil, or wine, was tied round with cords or stopped with a bung. Herodotus (ii. 121) speaks of the wine-skins of the Egyptians being closed with pegs.

"When the ascos was of great bulk it was borne upon a low cart; but when of a small size the legs of the animal were secured together, so as to form an overarching handle by which it might be conveniently carried in the hand or swung across a pole. This primitive vessel was in common use among the ancient Hebrews and Egyptians, was familiar to the Romans under the titles of uter and culeus, and is still employed by the Italians, Spaniards, Hindûs, and Arabs; and wherever the ascos has been, or still is in use, we find it imitated in terra-cotta.

"In the tombs of Magna Græcia and Etruria ascoi are discovered of various sizes, and presenting considerable diversity of fabric. happy to have it in my power to place before you an Etruscan ascos of the most archaic age. The body of the vessel is globose, as if the skin

was full of liquid: the neck through which it is filled is trumpet-mouthed, and the short cylindrical spout looks like the little tail of the animal. From beneath the mouth, and at the base of the spout, springs an overarching handle, which, in the primitive ascos, consisted of the united legs of the beast. This specimen is wrought of light fawn-coloured terracotta, and was formerly in the collection of Thomas Blayds, Esq., of Castle Hill, Englefield Green, sold in 1849.

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Among the early vases from Vulci and Nola, in the British Museum, is an exceedingly rare type of the ascos, having two tubes of exactly the same size and form, set nearly upright on the upper part of the vessel; the mouth of one of the tubes being closed with a perforated strainer; the arched handle springing from the base of each tube. It is made of light-coloured terra-cotta, upon which is delineated a full face, etc., in brown or black outline. In the same case are two ascoi, of a much larger size, having very ample mouths, through which the vessels were both filled and emptied. All three specimens are of what is termed Tyreno-Phænician ware. The museum also possesses a large ascos in the black ware of Core.

"Ascoi of a small size and finer workmanship were occasionally employed by the Greeks for perfumed oils and unguents, and have been discovered in the tombs with articles of the bath and toilet. Several examples of these small ascoi of light unadorned terra-cotta may be seen in Case 72 of the second vase room of the British Museum.

"Water-jars of fictile ware, nearly similar in form to the ancient ascoi, are still in daily use in southern Europe; more especially in Spain and Portugal, where they are denominated cantaro and bucaro or pucaro. "Estremadura, in the province of Alentejo, has been famed for centuries for the manufacture of bucaros. They are wrought of light reddishcoloured clay known by the name of Barro de Estremoz.

"Beckmann, in his History of Inventions, (ii. 149, Bohn's Ed.) relates that he had fragments of these Portuguese vessels in his collection; and says, "they are made of red bole; are not glazed, though they are smooth, and have a faint gloss on the surface like the Etruscan vases." He adds, that they are so little burnt that one can easily break them with the teeth, and the bits readily dissolve to a paste in the mouth. If water be poured into such vessels it penetrates their substance; so that, when in the least stirred, many air-bubbles are produced; and it at length oozes entirely through them. The water that has stood in them acquires a taste which many consider as agreeable; and it is probable that it proceeds from the bark of the fir-tree, with which, as we read, they are burnt. When the vessels are new, they perform their service better; and they must then also have a more pleasant smell."

"Through the kindness of the Rev. S. T. Pettigrew, at the meeting previous to the summer recess, we had an opportunity of examining an

elegant example of the ascos which, though not made in Portugal, is nevertheless most probably of Portuguese origin. Mr. Pettigrew informs. me that it was brought from Madeira, which island, it will be remembered, was peopled by a colony of Portuguese, sent hither by Prince Henry in 1420. The vessel is fabricated of red earth containing mica, and had originally a glossy surface. The body is somewhat skittle-formed, 5 inches high, having on the upper part, on one side, a trumpet-mouthed tube through which it was filled, and opposite it a conical spout; and rising from the crown of the vessel is an over-arching handle. The body is covered with large flowers and leaves, engraved in the clay whilst moist, and it is embellished on the sides with four flat-faced bosses, into which are pressed three or four fragments of quartz. It is certainly an old example of this curious class of water-coolers, and may probably be the handiwork of some of the earliest colonizers of Madeira.

"The ectype of the ancient ascos is also met with in South America; but, as the form does not occur among the aboriginal pottery of either Peru or Mexico, we are led to infer that it owes its introduction into the New World to the Spanish and Portuguese colonists; for it is observed more frequently in Brazil than in any other part of the transatlantic continent, where it is said to be called moringa.

"I beg to place before you an example of the Brazilian ascos, which, in general form, bears a close resemblance to Mr. Pettigrew's specimen from Madeira. It is, however, of a much larger size, the body somewhat more globose; the neck and conic spout being united by the broad overarching handle. The material is red earth with a smooth glossy surface. This water-jar was purchased in 1840 at the sale of the museum of P. C. Blackett, Esq., of Green-street, Grosvenor-square. Similar examples are in the museum of the United Service Institution.

"Beckmann notes the resemblance between the Portuguese water-jars and those in use in India, but this resemblance is perfectly natural, both being derived from the ascoi of skin. Those who visited the Great Exhibition of 1851 may, perchance, remember seeing two or three specimens in the Java collection, under the denomination of 'water-coolers.' They were very neatly wrought of light reddish-coloured earth, with globose bodies and short spouts and necks: the arched handle springing from the edge of each orifice.

"Marryat, in his "History of Pottery and Porcelain," p. 227, gives a figure of an Egyptian bardach, or water-cooler, in the British Museum, which resembles the ancient ascos in general form, but differs somewhat in detail. The handle, instead of springing from the orifices, rises from the apex of the vessel, and the spout is spherical and slightly elongated to form the aperture.

"Strange and unaccountable as it may appear, a trace of the ancient ascos is met with among the savages of the Feejce Islands, the only group

in the Pacific Ocean where aboriginal pottery is found. I exhibit an exceedingly rare, if not an unique, example of the Feejeean ascos. It is of a globose form, wrought of brick-red terra-cotta, and covered with a thick coat of the gum-resin of the Dammara pine. It represents the distended skin of some quadruped, with truncated legs; the neck forming the spout, and the anus the orifice through which the vessel is filled; the short tail, however, being retained to render the semblance as perfect as possible. The upper surface has twenty-three long projecting ridges to represent the wrinkling of the skin, and between each ridge is a line of diagonal notches by way of decoration. This remarkable specimen is from the valuable collection of the late C. A. Tulk, Esq., sold in 1849.

"It needs but little thought to convince us that the great majority of vessels owe their origin to natural objects, that they are in fact mere copies of the very articles which were primarily employed for holding different substances. The ligneous capsules of several trees and plants have been used and imitated in earth and metal as drinking-cups. The pericarps of various cucurbitaceae have given the contour to some of our most elegant bottles, jars, and vases. The divided gourd and the calvarium of the human skull were among the earliest bowls possessed by man, and their forms are continued down to the present hour. To the ostrich egg and cocoa-nut cups of former days may be traced the figure of the olden goblets; and the rhyton of the Greeks and the tumbler of the English are equally deducible from the festive horn of hoary antiquity. But, among the host of ectypes, none are more unexpected, more singular or more curious than the ascoi we have been considering.”

The remainder of the evening was occupied by the reading of a paper by Gilbert J. French, esq., of Bolton, which had, at the desire of the author, been revised and augmented by the treasurer. (See pp. 332-362 ante.)



WILLIAM WANSEY, esq., F.S.A., succeeded by F. H. DAVIS, esq., F.S.A., V.P., in the chair.

THIS meeting was summoned in accordance with the rules of the Association, upon the receipt of the following requisition, as read by J. R. Planché, esq., hon. sec.

"To the Secretaries of the British Archæological Association.

"We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, request that, in accordance with the laws of the Association, you will summon an EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING, to take into consideration several matters of importance to the welfare of the Association.

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W. Wansey, esq., F.S.A., was requested by the meeting to take the chair until the arrival of a vice-president, Mr. Pettigrew declining to preside.

The requisition having been read, some technical objections were made on the part of Mr. Charles Baily and Mr. Ll. Jewitt; but it was ultimately

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