Coffret (Minnekästchen)


On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14

The inside of this coffret's lid depicts Frau Minne, the German goddess of love, aiming and arrow at a young man. At right, he gives her his heart. The inscriptions have been interpreted as: "Gracious lady, I have surrendered," and "Lady send me solace, my heart has been wounded." The coffret embodies the notions of courtly love, a concept that developed during the feudal period and imagined romance as playful warfare between the suitor and beloved. The arms on the box may be those of the Berstett family of Alsace, Baden, and Austria.

Coffret (Minnekästchen), Oak, inlay, and tempera; wrought-iron mounts, German

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