British Collection Highlights:

Medieval Puzzle Jug

This medieval green glazed jug dated from around AD 1300 and was found when digging the foundations for the new Town Hall in Oxford in 1895.

Puzzle jugs were used for drinking games. The two separate elements in the design reflect two separate sections inside the jug. The lower chamber is filled through the hollow handle at the side and the liquid flows out through the stag-head spout. Drinking from the other side, the drinker would spill liquid on himself from the spout on that side, hence the name puzzle jug.

The jug is made of Brill/Boarstall ware from a west Buckinghamshire workshop. The decoration makes the jug one of the finest examples of its type.

The jug is on display in the ‘England 400-1600’ gallery on the second floor.

Click to enlarge

Oxford Puzzle Jug (Click to enlarge)

Puzzle Jug found in Oxford (AN1921.202)

Further Information

Hinton, D. A., Medieval Pottery of the Oxford Region (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1973). See number 12.

Hook, M. and MacGregor, A., Medieval England: Archaeological Collections in the Ashmolean Museum from Alfred the Great to Richard III (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1997).

Mellor, M. Pots and People, (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1997). See figure 32.

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Eleanor Standley
January 2012