Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Double Key

Date:
15th–16th century
Culture:
European
Medium:
Iron
Dimensions:
Overall (closed): 1 3/16 x 3 3/8 x 13/16 in. (3 x 8.5 x 2.1 cm) Overall (fully extended): 5 1/4 x 1 3/16 x 13/16 in. (13.3 x 3 x 2.1 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Iron
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1955
Accession Number:
55.61.44
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 307
The decoration of Gothic iron locks and keys was often elaborate and of the highest standard of workmanship. The motifs were often drawn from Gothic architecture, reproducing on a miniature scale complicated tracery patterns and even tiny statuettes. A number of these locks were compound, with some of the mechanisms concealed from view, and required two or even three keys used in sequence to open them. The double key exhibited here was probably designed for such a lock. It has been suggested that the greatly expanded use of locks on doors, or coffrets and other types of storage chests was the result of the increasing urbanization of life and the new emphasis on material wealth and private ownership which developed in the late Middle Ages.
Inscription: Inscribed: (on one end) ab dare [?] medi [?] et
Samuel Yellin(sold 1955)
Hoffeld, Jeffrey M. "The Art of the Medieval Blacksmith." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 28. no. 4 (December 1969). p. 169.

Husband, Timothy B., and Jane Hayward, ed. The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. New York: Dutton Publishing, 1975. no. 13, p. 28.



Related Objects

University Scepter

Date: early 15th century (1419? with alterations after 1478) Medium: Silver and silver gilt on an iron core Accession: 2011.358 On view in:Gallery 16

Pricket Candlestick

Date: 15th century Medium: Iron Accession: 38.168.3 On view in:Gallery 1

Door Nail

Date: 15th–16th century Medium: Iron Accession: 55.61.134 On view in:Gallery 307

Door Nail

Date: 15th–16th century Medium: Iron Accession: 55.61.136 On view in:Gallery 307

Grille

Date: 15th–16th century Medium: wrought iron Accession: 55.61.169 On view in:Gallery 307