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 Object 2018
Blown glass.
340 x 200 mm.

The chope, whose name comes from the Alsatian "schoppe" (meaning "big beer glass"), is a cylindrical container equipped with a handle, generally used to drink beer.

According to the French Academy, to be named a chope, its capacity must be 50 cl, equivalent to a pint.

 

Despite this capacity constraint, there is a wide variety of shapes, materials used (wood, terracotta, sandstone, tin, porcelain, zinc, etc.), and aesthetics. The chope can be smooth, or decorated with reliefs, writings, patterns, illustrations, decorations, since it also serves as commercial and advertising support for breweries.

 

The chope can also be fitted with a lid, a feature dating back to the 14th century in Germany. At the time, the Black Death is raging and mosquitoes are infesting Europe. In order to put an end to the spread of this scourge, it is decided to close all containers containing food, including the "beer pots". These pots thus received a tin lid.

 

Once the plague stopped, lids could have disappeared, but they had acquired a new function over time. Germans (especially in the south of the country) traditionally enjoy their beer in a "Biergarten" ("beer garden"), which are located near the breweries. Beer was in fact kept in cool cellars under the shade of chestnut trees. But these trees were not only bringing a pleasant shade : insects, flowers or leaves fell from their branches, and the lid of the mug prevented all these things from landing in the beer. In addition, it allowed to keep the beverage at a constant temperature.

 

Cleaning these tin mugs with lids was inconvenient and too expensive. They were gradually replaced by transparent glass mugs, the filling line needing to be clearly visible when the beer is served.

Today, the most sophisticated chopes, with tin lid and elaborate engravings, are rather collection objects.

 

The chope is the emblematic object of tasting beer, as a container specifically created for this drink ; the shape of the object derives directly from the use of german beer drinkers. 

This vase takes up the functional lid of the mug (to protect the liquid inside, but also some flowers, while leaving some other out), while drawing inspiration from opaque materials used for old mugs, before the appearance and generalization of transparent glass.