Definitions for quaich
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A traditional, shallow, two-handled Scottish cup symbolising friendship. It was originally used to toast the arrival or departure of a visitor.
a small shallow cup or drinking vessel
Origin: [Gael. cuach. Cf. Quaff.]
A quaich, archaically quaigh, is a special kind of shallow two-handled drinking cup or bowl in Scotland. It derives from the Scottish Gaelic cuach meaning a cup. According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, the quaich was inspired by the low silver bowls with two flat handles frequently used as bleeding vessels in England and the Netherlands in the 17th century. Another popular theory suggests that the shape is derived from scallop shells. However, this seems to have had its origins in the now discredited "Poems of Ossian". In his 1955 monograph "Some Scottish Quaichs", Richard L. McCleneahan, an American collector, suggests alternatively that quaichs evolved directly from medieval Mazers. This seems unlikely as the form and material are quite different. There were small stave built drinking vessels common in the medieval period found around the Baltic and since some of the earliest quaichs are stave built this could be the source. Traditionally quaichs are made of wood, an artform known as "treen". Some early quaichs are stave-built like barrels and some have alternating light and dark staves. The staves are held together by bands of willow or silver. They generally have two, and more rarely three or four, short, projecting handles. Other wooden quaiches were lathe-turned out of a single piece of wood and there was another group which were turned then carved outside in basket-weave pattern. In addition to wood, they are made of stone, brass, pewter, horn, and silver. The latter were often engraved with lines and bands in imitation of the staves and hoops of the wooden quaichs.
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