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Wafering iron

Wafering iron

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (Umbria, made)

  • Date:

    dated 1481 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast iron

  • Credit Line:

    Given by D.r. Hildburgh

  • Museum number:

    M.443-1924

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, case 3

These irons were used to make wafers or waffles, which were eaten at weddings, baptisms and on the Sunday before Lent (the period of fasting before Easter). The inscription suggests that this one was made for a wedding.

Physical description

Wafering iron with incised and punched decoration on circular plates.

Place of Origin

Italy (Umbria, made)

Date

dated 1481 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Cast iron

Dimensions

Length: 87.1 cm, Diameter: 17.3 cm of plates, Weight: 3.7 kg

Object history note

Given by Dr W.L. Hildburgh

Historical context note

Although similar to the irons used to make Eucharistic wafers for the Mass, these irons were used to make wafers or waffles (cialde or cialdoni) to be eaten at weddings, baptisms, and festivals, particularly on the Sunday before lent. Their use originated in Umbria in the later fifteenth-century. The irons were greased and heated, batter was poured on and they were pressed together, so that the decoration in relief transferred onto the cooked wafer. The grease used to make the wafers may well have helped to prevent rust on the irons.
The decoration consists of an incised pattern of bands with a symbol in the middle of each plate, with lettering in the outermost band which may have been punched in using stamps. The centre of one plate has a large shield with arms showing a there towered castle. The inscription when reversed reads : ELSERVIRE.MAI.SEPERDE.EVNO.PERFCTO.AMORE.SEMPRE.E.PIVVERDE [Service is never lost and a perfect love is ever more green]. In the centre of the opposing plate is a mortar with two pestles, within a star. The inscription reads: RENZO.PACCA.M.CCCC.LXXXI.LUCA.PACCA [(Lo)Renzo Pacca 1481 Luca Pacca]. It is possible that Lucca refers not to Luke but to Lucy or Lucia and that the irons were therefore used to make cialde for the couple's wedding.

Descriptive line

Wafering iron, Italy, ca.1481

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Hunt, K. Depth of Field: the place of the relief in the time of Donatello (Henry Moore Institute 2003) p.87 cat. no.25
Ajmar-Wollheim, Marta and Dennis, Flora At Home in Renaissance Italy, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2006, cat. 150, pp. 114, 361

Materials

Iron

Categories

Eating; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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