Probably the earliest dated crossbow––as well as one of the most beautiful examples of its kind––to survive from the 15th century, it is also the only crossbow of its period whose maker can be identified with reasonable certainty. The elaborate decoration consists of ivory panels carved with figures, inscriptions, and the arms of Count Ulrich V of Württemberg (1413–1480) and his third wife, Margaret of Savoy (1420–1479). The Latin inscriptions on either side are a hymn to the Virgin Mary and a Christmas-related quote from the gospel of St. Luke (2:14). On the underside, the crossbow features an extremely rare German inscription rendered in Hebrew letters––one of the earliest recorded instance of its kind. Difficult to interpret, it is probably a cryptogram intended as a sophisticated homage to the weapon's illustrious owner; alternatively, although this remains a highly speculative interpretation, it may possibly be an encoded signature of Heinrich Heid, the count's crossbow maker. Since the gospel quote is found beneath the arms of Savoy, Countess Margaret may have given this crossbow as a Christmas present to her husband who was a passionate huntsman.The bow, although contemporary, may not be the one originally fitted to this weapon; the nut is a later replacement.