Date: ca. 1200–1220
Culture: South Italian
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
Accession Number: 47.101.60
This majestic falcon has been associated with the Hohenstaufen emperors, whose rule extended over much of modern Germany and Italy. As symbols of their authority, they carried staffs surmounted by eagles, but the heavy bronze of this example may indicate that it decorated a throne or other piece of furniture. The falcon, which appears to be a specific type called a gerfalcon, suggests a link to Emperor Frederick II, who wrote the standard medieval treatise on the art of falconry, an aristocratic sport that he avidly pursued.