Zoomorphic drinking cups built around a body of exotic materials such as shells or coconuts were a highly sought-after curiosity in the 16th Century kunstkammer collections of Europe. They combined delicate European workmanship with rare and wonderful materials from far lands. The present cup belongs to a group of five coconut silver mounted owl cups which Wirth identified as 16th Century and created in North Germany, probably in a Bremen workshop. Each bears the date 1556 and the same inscription, which on the present example is preserved in full. One is in the Providence Museum of Art, USA, another is in the Focke Museum in Bremen. The current opinion of the Focke Museum is that their example is an object of the 19th Century, which casts the dating of the whole group into doubt.
Wirth, no. K6, fig. 62, pp.74-75, no.K20, fig 76, p. 80