Drinking Horns History
Drinking horns have been around for a quite some time. We know for a fact that human kind used horns as a drinking vessel for at least 2600 years. At the beginning the purpose was for straight-forward, practical use only. But drinking horn stuck around in many cultures, thanks to our strong bond with the symbolism and tradition, even after the invention of much more practical drinking vessels. Thanks to new tools and acquired knowledge drinking horns became a thing of prestige and power.
Drinking horns were decorated with different techniques from simple and complex carvings to using other materials such as precious metals and gems. Civilizations all around the world made the drinking vessels of horn, metal and glass.
Horn drinking vessels appeared in several forms such as one piece horns (Viking drinking horn), tankards ( horn mug ), cups, tumblers ( horn cup )…
Despite the following, more practical vessels, the drinking horn remained the most widely used over the course of history.
How To Make a Drinking Horn
To make a drinking horn remove the core before processing it further. There are two ways to do this: by boiling the horn until it softens, and then removing the core – a faster but messier way.. or it can be done by keeping it on a warm and dry place until the core separates naturally from the horn.
After removing the core the horn shape can be changed. To bend the horn or change the shape we need to soften it again by exposing t to heat. In case of tankard modern horn-makers mostly use acrylic solutions to seal the bottom, and all that’s left are the finishing touches such as polishing, coating and decoration.
Drinking Horns Today
Drinking horns remained highly priced and admired pieces as antiquities in modern times. Recently they came back again in a big way and are becoming widely popular thanks to well known modern shows like “Vikings”, “Game of Thrones” and Tolkien works.
Even today you can find handmade, authentic drinking horns made of real horn. Drinking horns are still made with pretty basic, old fashion techniques, with a touch of modern materials and technologies. Use your drinking horn as drinking vessel or just as decoration. Either way, a drinking horn can be a great gift for anyone with a taste for the old ways.
And don’t worry, drinking horns are actually affordable for an average Joe!