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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Standing Shield

German, Erfurt
Wood, leather, gesso, silver foil, gold lacquer, polychromy, iron
H., 69 1/2 in. (176.53 cm); W., 32 1/2 in. (82.55 cm); Wt., 50 lb. (22.68 kg)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1922
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373
Shields of this exceptionally large size and weight (fifty pounds) were propped on the ground to form a wall to protect archers and infantrymen. This shield comes from the arsenal of Erfurt, in Saxony, and is painted with the coat of arms of that city and its dependencies Vieselbach, Kapellendorf, and Vargula. It presumably was made after 1385, when the archbishop of Erfurt acquired suzerainty over the town of Vargula, but before 1387, when the coat of arms was again augmented. The holes in the surface were made by crossbow bolts and by bullets.
Marking: Arms: Quarterly: 1) gules, a wheel silver, 2) silver, an eagle gules (Margravate of brandenburg), 3) azure, three pales silver (?), 4) silver, a wheel sable (Erfurt). Mr. Nichol has called no. 2 the eagle of Brandenburg because the town was then in the amrk. The plaes he could not identify. The wheel is derived from the arms of the archbishop-elector of Mainz in whose domain Erfurt was once included. See Siebmacher, Wappenbuch (Städtewappen).

Coat-of-Arms (according to Dr. Kunze, Angermuseum Erfurt)
1. City of Erfurt (wheel argent in red field)
2. County of Vieselbach (eagle barry argent and black, sometimes red in place of bl.)
3. Fief of the Empire Kapellendorf (black pales in argent)
4. Manor Vargula (black wheel in argent)

(Reference: Letter of Dr. Kunze, Angermuseum Erfurt, to H. Nickel, May 19, 1961.)

Possessions of Erfurt in XIV.c. (acc. to Dr. Kunze, Erfurt)
1. County Vieselbach, acquired in 1324 [arms, field 2]
2. Fief Kapellendorf, acquired in 1352 [arms, field 3]
3. Manor Vargula, acquired in 1385 [arms, field 4]

As the coat-of-arms of vargule (acqu. 1385) is included, but the one of manor Vippach (acqu. 1387) is not, Dr. Kunze suggests, that the shield was manufactured between 1385 and 1387.
(Reference: Letter of Dr. Kunze, Angermuseum Erfurt, to H. Nickel, May 19, 1961.)
Town Hall of Erfurt
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