Coffret

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Origin
France
Period
Early 16th century
Material
Iron
Dimensions
20.5 x 31 x 21 cm
Literature

E. Berger, Prunk-Kassetten - Meisterwerke aus der Hans Schell Collection, Graz 1998, p. 193, cat. no. 25.

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Description

This richly decorated and chiselled iron box was made in France. It closes with a puzzle lock, which can be opened by turning the lower knob on the right-hand side; the hinged band over the lid can then be flipped up, revealing the lock. The mechanism inside releases the left hinged band when the key is turned, after which the box can be opened. The Gothic chest, given the hidden lock, was probably used to store and carry valuable and important items or papers. The key is present.

The box has a domed and raised lid, with a rectangular handle with a knob in the middle. On the sides of the box are two smaller handles. On top of the lid are two medallions depicting a man with a turban and a woman with raised hair. Next to the medallions are two equal coats of arms with four sections, crowned with helmets. Above both coats of arms, a bird is depicted. Below the portraits and coats of arms are floral scrolls, with two naked women and two men with spears. Below the men and women are s-shaped foliage. On the other side of the chest, the same decoration is applied. On either side of the lid, the sides and the base are twisted iron bars, each ending in a profiled foot. Across the lid and base run three carved bands, perforated with mesh in semicircles, in which there is an extended trefoil. Between these three bands are two hinged bands with square studs on a carved leaf decoration. These bands serve as the closure of the box and are chased with a repeating diamond pattern with flowers and circles. On the base of the box, the bands have a wavy pattern and the same studs as on the lid. The meshwork of the bands recurs on the sides, in a semi-circle around the edge, and in the centre in a strongly protruding band. These characteristic decorations can also be seen on similar boxes in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hans Schell Collection, and the National Trust Collection in Lanhydrock, Cornwall.

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