Beggars’ Bowl with a Gourd, anonymous, c. 1566
When in 1566 nobles begged the governor, Margaret of Parma, to halt the persecution of the Protestants, someone reassured her with the words: ‘Fear not, my lady, they are nothing but beggars,’ called ‘gueux’ in French. The dissenting nobles immediately adopt the negatively meant geus as a badge of honour. Their symbols are the beggars’ bowl and pouch. Some of these bowls are fairly luxurious and were reserved for that reason.