Door knocker with deer

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German speaking Alpine region
16th century
8.5 cm
9 cm
2 cm

H. R. D'Allemagne, Decorative Antique Ironwork, 1968, p. 155.
H. von Hefner - Alteneck, Decorative Ironwork, 1996, p. 25.
R. Ysla, Striking Figures, Figurative Door Knockers from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century, 2019, p. 66, cat. no. 79.

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This richly chiselled and engraved wrought-iron door knocker is formed by two reptilian creatures facing each other, with a long curling tail. Between the two tails is the head of a deer with large antlers, which is also the front of the mounting rod. The two reptilians have a pointed head, a long scaly body ending in a tail and four legs or fins. The creatures are finely worked. Doorknockers made in the Alpine countries were often decorated with animals from the region, such as deer and cattle.

Door knockers are both decorative and practical, and the simple mechanical system gave the maker plenty of space to create a small work of art that was seen by many people. The door knocker spread through Europe from the early sixteenth century onwards with the rise of the upper-middle classes and merchants but had been used much earlier in churches and palaces. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the imagery that was used expanded; in addition to classical lions and eagles, various animals, angels, fantasy creatures and beings from classical antiquity were depicted. Due to their common function, many door knockers have deteriorated or become worn over the course of time.  


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