Hedwig glass beaker

06.22.2010 - By A History of the World in 100 Objects

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Neil MacGregor's world history as told through objects at the British Museum. This week he is looking at how objects moved around the medieval world in the context of war, trade and faith and the quite incredible degree of contact between Asia, Europe and Africa that existed around a thousand years ago. Today's object is a large glass beaker made at a time when Christians were warring with Muslims in the great crusades - a time, curiously enough, connected with a great flourishing of trade. This object was most likely made by Islamic glass workers but became associated with the miracles of a Christian saint, Hedwig. This glass container, or one of the few just like it, was what Hedwig famously used to turn water into wine! Neil describes the story of the Hedwig beaker with help from the economic historian David Abulafia and the historian of the Crusades Jonathan Riley-Smith. He also sees what happens when he pours water into this beautifully decorated vessel.

Producer: Anthony Denselow

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