Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Coffer lock and key

probably early 16th century
Wrought iron
a) 8 3/4 x 7 1/4 in. (22.2 x 18.4 cm); b) L. 3 13/16 in. (9.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1957
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 535
The shrine of Saint James the Great at the cathedral of Santiago da Compostela was one of the most popular pilgrimage sites of the Middle Ages. Cockleshell emblems of the saint appeared everywhere in Spanish ornament, from nail heads to window grilles. They appear on the bottom end of the two giant staples by which this lock was attached to a coffer or chest. A winged monster with a fish tail ornaments the hasp of the lock; a swiveling baluster conceals the keyhole.
Frédéric Spitzer ; [ The Anderson Galleries ] ; Samuel Yellin ; [ Franz J. Mela , New York, until 1957; sold to MMA ]
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