Culinary Mould thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 1

This object consists of 2 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Culinary Mould

1795 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Decorated foodstuffs have for centuries brought delight to the dining table. This German example made from pearwood would have been used to stamp gingerbread before baking to create delicious novelties. The Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God, was a popular Christian motif to remind worshippers of Christ's role as their sacrificial lamb. The image would also remind the meek that they might eventually triumph and ascend to heaven despite their unfavourable eartly situation. This object is a good example of folk art, and is charmingly engraved, a feeling made stronger by the reversed aspect of the date, 1795, on any imprints made by the mould.
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object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Culinary Mould
  • Plaster Cast
Materials and Techniques
Carved pearwood and plaster of Paris
Brief Description
Culinary mould of carved pearwood, oval-shaped, Agnus Dei motif, with plaster cast, German, 1795
Physical Description
Culinary mould of carved pearwood, oval-shaped, showing the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and flowers, surrounded by foliage. The date 1795 is inscribed to the left of the lamb's head. The figures of the date are shown reversed on the plaster of Paris imprint.
Marks and Inscriptions
'1795' (Inscription reversed on plaster cast)
Gallery Label
Wooden moulds like this were used by bakers to create decoration on foodstuffs. gingerbread dough would be pushed into this mould and an impression of the design would remain after baking. The Lamb of God is a Christian symbol, reminding the faithful of Christ’s sacrifice for mankind.(13/03/2019)
Object history
The mould was probably made in Bavaria in 1795, as indicated by the carved date next to the lamb's head, for making gingerbread. It is possible that it was used commercially. It was acquired in 1906 by the antique dealer Ernest W. Savory, of 4 Rodney Place, Clifton, Bristol. Offering them for sale to the museum, he wrote: 'When in Bavaria a month or two ago I bought .... twenty three carved wood moulds, "lebkuchen pressen", used for making the Nuremberg ginger breads, which I collected from various sources. These are of the 17th or 18th centuries & are most interesting as showing the customs & costumes of the various periods. Some of them are carved on both sides, two or three with some red seal on the backs.' Curator A F Kendrick commented that 'these moulds would form useful additions to our small collection (Nos. 203-1879; 746-1904; 747-1904).' The Museum bought them for £12. (Museum nos. 99 to 121-1906)



The V&A also bought other items for the collection from Mr Savory between 1905 and 1913, including a large collection of German pewter.
Historical context
Moulds such as this were used by bakers to create decoration on foodstuffs, such as gingerbread. With gingerbread, the dough would be pushed into the mould, leaving an impression of the design. The pattern would then be retained after baking, creating attractive novelty confections. According to Edward Pinto in his book Treen and Other Wooden Bygones, early recipes for gingerbread using breadcrumbs did not require baking, the moulded biscuits being simply removed from the mould and left to harden.



The religious subject matter may suggest that this mould was used to make gingerbread at Easter.
Production
The carved date appears to be original to the mould, as it is located in position where otherwise there would be a gap, which would be inconsistent with the crowded decoration. Its reversed imprint was probably the result of an error by the maker.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Decorated foodstuffs have for centuries brought delight to the dining table. This German example made from pearwood would have been used to stamp gingerbread before baking to create delicious novelties. The Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God, was a popular Christian motif to remind worshippers of Christ's role as their sacrificial lamb. The image would also remind the meek that they might eventually triumph and ascend to heaven despite their unfavourable eartly situation. This object is a good example of folk art, and is charmingly engraved, a feeling made stronger by the reversed aspect of the date, 1795, on any imprints made by the mould.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
121:1&2-1906

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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