Basler Standesscheibe

Armorial panel of Basle

Basle, 1512/20
Height 46 cm, width 32 cm
Inv. 1904.328.

4134px x 5650px
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The proliferation in the late Middle Ages of legends involving the basilisk in the foundation of the city of Basle resulted in the inclusion of the fabulous beast, part cock part snake, among the more established bearers of its escutcheon: the angel, the lion and the wildman. The unknown Basle stained glass artist who created this panel succeeded in giving a striking picture of these fabulous creatures, feared for their poison emitting beaks and their deadly stare. The basilisks hold not only the city coat of arms but also the banner of honour awarded to each of the Confederate councils in 1512 by Pope Julius II in gratitude for the conquest of Pavia - the gold fringed 'Julius banner' which carries in its upper left corner a representation of the Annunciation. The figures in the spandrel illustrate an element of the legend of the foundation of Basle: an armed man holds a mirror up to the basilisk so that the monster will succumb to its own annihilating stare.

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