State and Law

The section “State and Law” comprises objects which were used by the authorities and administration in the course of their public duties or for state ceremonial. Most of the collection dates from the period between the Reformation and the French Revolution, a period notable for an increase in the tasks undertaken by the administration and for a pronounced love of ceremonial.

The section “State and Law” is unusually varied as it is categorised not by the material of which the items in the collection are made, but by their function. For example, antiquities relating to the state or to the law may include official signs or notices, executioners' swords, seals, boundary stones or measuring vessels. The holding is divided into the following subsections: signets and seals (state seals, ecclesiastical seals, guild seals, seal impressions, etc); items relating to state and law in the narrower sense (official shields, maces, city hall furnishings); boundary stones and the like; the administration of justice (executioners' swords, instruments of torture); weights and measures (with numerous subdivisions); genealogy, documents and records; city plans and maps; heraldry and armorial books, finance (in particular money boxes); miscellaneous (emblems, mementoes of revolutions, famines and so on); and historical curiosities (entrance tickets, rationing coupons, etc).

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