A puzzle jug is a jug built around a trick. The challenge is to drink from the jug without spilling, which cannot be done because of perforations in the pottery. The earliest example is the Exeter jug, which dates from the 14th century.
When handed a drink in one of these flagons, the way to save embarrassment is to know that the jug has a hidden tube, like a kind of early dribble cup. Obviously, the human sense of humor has not grown more sophisticated over the centuries. But I’m not going to reveal the solution, in case you ever encounter one of these yourself. Wouldn’t want to spoil the fun!
When my husband Tony and I visited Italy during the autumn of 2007, we made a visit to the town of Grottaglie, long famous for its beautiful pottery. Among the lovely pieces that we just had to buy was this beautiful handmade puzzle jug.
Click on photos to enlarge.