Wheellock Gun of Philippe de Croy, Prince of Chimay (1526–1595)
Flemish, possibly Antwerp
Steel, gold, silver, wood, ivory
L. 42 1/8 in. (107.0 cm); L. of barrel 27 5/8 in. (70.2 cm); Cal. .56 in. (14.2 mm); Wt. 8 lb. 10 oz. (3917 g)
Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. Bashford Dean, 1929
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 375
This hunting gun of unusual richness and superb workmanship incorporates in its decoration the initials and the coat of arms of Philippe de Croy (1526–1595), a Franco-Flemish nobleman and Spanish grandee. Figures and scenes carved in ivory represent more than a dozen Greek gods and a series of detailed vignettes with episodes from the story of the mythological hero Perseus.
Inscription: Inscribed: MELIVS EST NOS MORI IN BELLO QVA[M] VIDERE MALE GENTIS NOSTRAE (It is better for us to die in war than to look upon the misery of our people). This is probably a paraphrasing of Livius XXII, 15, 7, the answer of the Roman senate after the Battle of Cannae, 216 BC.
Ex. coll.: Prince Rudolf von und zu Liechtenstein, Schloss Märisch-Kromau, Moravia (inv. no. 152); Liechtenstein "Garden Palace," vienna; Vaduz.