How do you pour from a jug with holes in it? Ah, that’s the puzzle. Puzzle jugs were used for quaffing contests in taverns or around a dinner table, which undoubtedly got messier as the night continued. They were particularly popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and were crafted in a wide variety of styles (and perforations) in England, France, Italy and Germany, as well as Chinese export-ware made for the European market. The challenge for the drinker is to work out how to quake their thirst despite the apparently empty vessel and multiple spouts.
Unidentified Staffordshire pottery
Puzzle jug nineteenth century
The University of Melbourne Art Collection. Gift of the Russell and Mab Grimwade Bequest 1973