Nautilius cup

A photograph of an elaborate cup made from the shell of a nautilius and silver to form the shape of an ostrich

Nautilius cup by Joachim Hiller, Public Domain

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  • Intro
    Museum's Description
    Teacher notes
    • This amazing cup looks like an ostrich. The bird's body is made from a nautilus shell. A nautilus is a type of mollusc (like snails and mussels) and their shells were very popular items in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. They were often mounted onto stems made of precious metals such as this silver one, to make cups.

      Things to think about...
      • What do you think this cup would have been used for?
      • Do you think that it might have been just for decoration?
      • Who do you think would have owned a cup like this? Why?
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