This skillfully cast falcon, said to have been found in Italy in 1925, has been associated with the Hohenstaufen emperors, a Germanic dynasty ruling over much of what are now Germany and Italy. As symbols of their authority, they carried staffs surmounted by eagles, but the heavy copper alloy of this example suggests that it decorated a throne or other piece of furniture, such as the top of a tent pole. The falcon, which appears to be a specific type called a gerfalcon, suggests a link to Emperor Frederick II (r. 1215–50), who wrote the standard medieval treatise on the art of falconry, an aristocratic sport that he pursued avidly.
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Medium:Bronze, traces of gilding
Dimensions:Overall: 11 x 6 1/2 x 3 1/8 in. (27.9 x 16.5 x 7.9 cm)
Credit Line:The Cloisters Collection, 1947
Found in Italy, 1925; Dr. Kurt Cassirer, Rome and Berlin (until 1926) ; Paul Sachs American (from 1926) ; Arthur Sachs American, Cambridge, Mass. (sold 1946) ; [ Brummer Gallery, Paris and New York (1946–sold 1947) ]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Year 1200: A Centennial Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 12–May 10, 1970.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 14, 1970–June 1, 1971.
Tokyo National Museum. "Treasured Masterpieces of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," August 10, 1972–October 1, 1972.
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Treasured Masterpieces of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 8, 1972–November 26, 1972.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Grand Gallery," October 19, 1974–January 5, 1975.
Württembergisches Landesmuseum. "Die zeit der Staufer," March 26–June 5, 1977.
Svevo Castle, Bari. "Immagine e Potere," January 7–April 25, 1995.
Kulturhistorisches Museum Magdeburg. "Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation, 962-1806. Von Otto dem Grossen bis zum Ausgang des Mittelaltars," August 28, 2006–December 10, 2006.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art—Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 6, 2012–January 4, 2013.
Beijing. National Museum of China. "Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art—Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 8–May 9, 2013.
London. British Museum. "Sicily: Culture and Conquest," April 21, 2016–August 14, 2016.
Hoffmann, Konrad, ed. The Year 1200: A Centennial Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970. no. 131, p. 127.
Wixom, William D., and Margaret Lawson. "Picturing the Apocalypse: Illustrated Leaves from a Medieval Spanish Manuscript." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 59, no. 3 (Winter 2002). p. 35, fig. 36.
Puhle, Matthias, and Claus-Peter Haase, ed. Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation, 962-1806: Von Otto dem Grossen bis zum Ausgang des Mittelalters. Volume 1, Catalogue. Dresden: Kulturhistorisches Museum Magdeburg, 2006. no. IV.65, pp. 269–271.
Barnet, Peter, and Atsuyuki Nakahara, ed. Earth, Sea, Sky: Nature in Western Art – Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tokyo: Yomiuri Shimbun, 2012. no. 27, pp. 78, 218.
Booms, Dirk, and Peter Higgs, ed. Sicily: Culture and Conquest. London: British Museum, 2016. pp. 256–57, fig. 212.
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