Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nuernberg Wedding Cup

We received our first wedding gift over the weekend, courtesy of one of Andrew's thoughtful cousins who is stationed in Germany with her family.

A Neurnberg or German Wedding Cup!
What the heck is this thing other than a lady in a full skirt sculpted out of pewter? And believe me, it does have a surprising amount of heft to it.

The story that accompanied the cup states:

Centuries ago, in old Nuernberg, the nobel mistress Kunigunde fell in love with a young and ambitious goldsmith. Although Kunigunde's wealthy father (a powerful nobleman) did not approve of this pair, it was clear that she only wanted the goldsmith to be her husband as she refused many titled and rich suitors who asked for her hand in marriage.
Her father became so enraged that he had the young goldsmith thrown into the darkest dungeon. Not even his daughter's bitter tears would change her father's mind.

To her father's dismay, imprisoning the young man did not end his daughter's love for the goldsmith. Instead, he could only watch as his daughter grew paler and paler as a result of the separation from her true love.

The wealthy nobleman reluctantly made the following proposal: He told his daughter, "If your goldsmith can make a chalice from which two people can drink at the same time without spilling one single drop, I will free him and you shall become his bride".

Of course he was certain nobody could perform such a task...

Inspired by love and with skillful hands, the young goldsmith created a masterpiece. He sculpted a girl with a smile as beautiful as his own true love's. Her skirt was hollowed to serve as a cup. Her raised arms held a bucket that swivels so that it could be filled and then swung towards a second drinker.

The challenge was met. The goldsmith and the nobleman's daughter joined hands in marriage and with the bridal cup set forth a romantic and memorable tradition as charming today as it was originally hundreds of years ago.

To this day and to many couples the chalice remains a symbol.

Love, faithfulness and good luck await the couple who drink from this cup.

So how did Andrew and I become aware of this cup and come to own one? Through his mom's side of the family, Andrew is of Scandinavian descent (via Minnesota). We spotted one of these cups at his grandfather's house when we visited in January, and I was thoroughly charmed by the described tradition of using this cup for weddings (Charlotte can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Andrew's aunt Barbie used one at her wedding).

Picture this tilted sideways with the groom drinking from the chalice formed by the woman's skirt, and the bride drinking from the swiveling cup on top.

I think between Charlotte and Aunt Barbie, Andrew's cousin Karla somehow came to hear that I had admired the cup and was able to send us one as a gift.

I can't think of a more unique way to bring a tradition from Andrew's side of the family (the non-Portugese side!) and have a beautiful keepsake to admire afterwards.

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