Pilgrim flask

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Antoine Sigalon
approximately 1524-1590
Nîmes, France, ca. 1581-1590.
Tin-glazed earthenware, with modern metal cap
13 3/8 x 11 x 5 7/8 inches (340 x 280 x 150 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1906.

This flask is one of the few known examples of faience ware (tin-glazed pottery) from the southern French city of Nîmes. A Huguenot (French Protestant) deacon, Syjalon often satirized the Catholic Church in his pottery. Here, two fantastic creatures, one with the head of an ass, the other with that of a hare, carry the palms of Catholic martyrs while defecating and vomiting.
There is a lead shot inside the flask.
The arms and motto connect the bottle with a plate in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and with Isabeau de la Garde and her grandson Jean de Narbonne, Lord of Trouilles.
A pilgrim bottle by Sigalon in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is stylistically related to this flask, bears the date 1581. The motto and monogram are those of Isabeau de la Guarde, married June 6, 1506 to Guillaume de Narbonne, seigneur de Ledignan. Sigalon was a Huguenot, and this piece is decorated with a satire on the Catholic rituals.

Medallions in center inscribed, "Seigneur + Le + ESPERE +EN+TOY"; the monogram "IG"; red number on bottom, "60".
A. Tollin; H. Wencke; Duke de Dino-Talleyrand; purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan from Jacques Seligmann & Co., 1906.

Flask decorated in blue, yellow, beige and green with satire on the Catholic ritual. Four initials in each side: two Gs intertwined with Is, one G is upside down. It stands for Isabeau de la Garde.