Art/ Collection/ Art Object


15th century
Made in Franconia, Germany
Limewood with paint
Overall (w/ base): 61 1/2 x 23 3/4 x 54 1/2 in., 182lb. (156.2 x 60.3 x 138.4 cm, 82554.7g)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1955
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 20
The German word Palmesel (palm donkey) refers to the statue of Jesus on a donkey, mounted on a wheeled platform, which was part of Palm Sunday processions in many German-speaking regions until the Reformation. These processions, which reenacted Christ’s entry into Jerusalem mounted on a donkey, were lively pageants in which hymns were sung, palms strewn, and clothes spread on the ground before the Palmesel. The figure of Jesus retains, in contrast, an air of quiet majesty.
The donkey’s hooves and the fingers on Christ’s hands are restored; the platform and wheels are modern.
Said to be from the Church at Mellrichstadt in Bavaria (Unterfranken), north of Schweinfurt; Dompfarrer Ernst Franz August Münzenberger, Cologne (until 1892) ; Historisches Museum Frankfurt(1892–1920/21) ; Carl von Weinberg German, 1861–1943, Frankfurt (1920/21–forced sale ca. 1938) ; Haus Waldfried, Frankfurt [von Weinberg estate] (sold ca. 1938?) ; restituted to von Weinberg's son-in-law, Baron Richard von Szilvinyi, Frankfurt (ca. 1950) ; [ Wilhem Henrich, Frankfurt (1953–sold 1955)]
Stückelberg, Ernst Alfred. "Ueber die Verbreitung der Palmesel." Anzeiger für schweizerische Alterthumskunde - Indicateur d'Antiquités Suisses 28, no. 3 (1895). p. 470.

Quilling, Fritz. Führer durch das Städtische Historische Museum zu Frankfurt am Main. Frankfurt am Main, 1903. p. 38.

Wiepen, Eduard. Palmsonntagsprozession und Palmesel: Eine kultur- und kunstgeschichtlich-volkskundliche Abhandlung zum Kölner Palmesel der kunsthistorischen Ausstellung zu Düsseldorf 1902 (Sammlung Schnütgen). Bonn: Peter Hanstein Verlag, 1903. pp. 39-40, n. 3.

Stückelberg, Ernst Alfred. "Der Palmesel." Revue Alsacienne Illustrée - Illustrirte elsässische Rundschau 10 (1908). p. 124.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighty-Fifth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1954-1955." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 14, no. 1 (Summer 1955). p. 14.

Ostoia, Vera K. "A Palmesel at the Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 14, no. 7 (March 1956). pp. 170-73.

Corgan, Catherine. "A Late Gothic Palmesel." Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 37, no. 3 (1957-1958). p. 67.

Christian Education Findings 6 (April 1958). p. 17, cover ill.

von Adelmann, Josef Anselm. "Christus auf dem Palmesel." Zeitschrift für Volkskunde 63 (1967). p. 196.

Horlbeck, Frank R. "Gloria, Laud and Honor: The Palmesel and Palm Sunday." Bulletin: Elvehjem Art Center (1978). p. 30.

Broekaert, Marijke. "Christus op de palmezel: Bijdrage tot de cultuurhistorische en iconografische betekenis van een processiebeeld." Leuven, 1984. no. 37.

Wixom, William D. "Medieval Sculpture at The Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 46, no. 3 (Winter 1988-1989). p. 43.

Broekaert, Marijke, and Luc Knapen. "Inventaris van bewaarde en verdwenen palmezels in Europa." In De palmezelprocessie: Een (on)bekend West-Europees fenomeen?, edited by Luc Knapen, and Patrick Valvekens. Leuven: Peeters, 2006. p. 257.

Broekaert, Marijke, and Patrick Valvekens. "De palmezel: Oorsprong, iconografie en geografische verspreiding." In De palmezelprocessie: Een (on)bekend West-Europees fenomeen?, edited by Luc Knapen, and Patrick Valvekens. Leuven: Peeters, 2006. p. 129.

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