The quaich or quaigh is a type of Scottish drinking vessel. It is shallow and uncovered, similar to a porringer. Small quaichs are meant for individual use, while larger ones are passed around on ceremonial occasions like a loving cup. The bowl has two flat horizontal handles called “lugs” in Scotland. These handles are unpierced and droop downward at the ends. This design was meant to secure the cup when attached to the owner’s leg while travelling, as kilts did not have pockets and sporrans were not always spacious enough.
On anniversaries and special occasions, most Scottish regiments keep up a curious mess custom called “kissing the quaich.” The quaich, which, towards the end of dinner, is handed to each officer in turn, is full of liqueur whisky. Custom decrees that the vessel must be drained at a gulp, after which the holder twists it upside down from him and kisses the bottom’ to show it is empty. (Maladon News, 1917)
Quaich’s early examples are of wood, bone or horn, sometimes made with silver mounts and later ones entirely silver. Those with a wooden bowl were often made of vertical staves (some- times of alternating contrasting woods) bound horizontally with two bands of withies; some silver examples are decorated to simulate this form. Some examples have in the interior a decorative print on the bottom (originally made to cover the junction of the wooden staves). The width is usually in the range of 9.5 to 25 cm. Modern examples are made in many sizes.
“KISSING THE QUAICH.” (1917, November 6). Maldon News (Vic. : 1916 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138732801
Newman, H. (1987, November 1). An Illustrated Dictionary of Silverware. https://doi.org/10.1604/9780500234563
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