How at the Castle of Corbin a Maiden Bare in the Sangreal and Foretold the Achievements of Galahad
: illustration by
The Holy Grail is a vessel that serves as an important motif in
Arthurian literature. Different traditions describe it as a cup, dish or stone with miraculous powers that provide happiness, eternal youth or sustenance in infinite abundance. The term "holy grail" is often used to denote an object or goal that is sought after for its great significance.
A "grail", wondrous but not explicitly holy, first appears in
Perceval, le Conte du Graal, an unfinished romance written by
Chrétien de Troyes around 1190.
 Here, it is a processional
salver, a tray, used to serve at a feast.
 Chrétien's story attracted many continuators, translators and interpreters in the later 12th and early 13th centuries, including
Wolfram von Eschenbach, who perceived the grail as a Stone.
 In the late 12th century,
Robert de Boron wrote in Joseph d'Arimathie that the Grail was
Jesus's vessel from the
Last Supper, which
Joseph of Arimathea used to catch
Christ's blood at the
Crucifixion. Thereafter, the Holy Grail became interwoven with the legend of the
Holy Chalice, the Last Supper cup, a theme continued in works such as the
Vulgate Cycle, the
Post-Vulgate Cycle, and
Le Morte d'Arthur.
Scholars have long speculated on the origins of the Holy Grail before Chrétien, suggesting that it may contain elements of the trope of magical cauldrons from
Celtic mythology combined with Christian legend surrounding the
 the latter found in
Eastern Christian sources, conceivably in that of the
Byzantine Mass, or even Persian sources.