Art/ Collection/ Art Object


15th–16th century
Overall: H. 8 3/8, W. 7 5/8, L.11 3/4 in. (21.3 x 19.4 x 29.8 cm)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1955
Accession Number:
Not on view
In addition to the luxurious and decorative jewel caskets of ivory and leather, iron coffrets and chests of varying sizes, designed primarily for security, were common. Used in the household to safeguard valuables or important documents, they were likewise employed in business establishments to protect both the profits of the day’s trade and valuable merchandise.

On the front of this coffret are three hinged reinforcing bands; the outer two are fitted with hasps, while the central band both covers the keyhole and provides an attachment for a padlock. The internal locking mechanism, activated by a turn of the key, sends a metal bar through the iron hasps of the side bands.
Samuel Yellin, Philadelphia (until 1940) ; Samuel Yellin, Philadelphia (1940–sold 1955)
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. 12, p. 28.

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