Bannwartschild des Gescheids (Flurgericht) von Grossbasel

Badge of the 'Bannwart' (field warden) of the 'Gescheid' (land court) of Grossbasel

Basle, ca. 1500
Silver, parcel gilt, wildman figures cast in the round
diameter 15.2 cm
Inv. 1875.78.

3734px x 4822px
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The escutcheon of Basle supported by male and female woodhouses is set in a strongly profiled, raised sexfoil surround. The wildman pair fit neatly into the lateral lobes, and acanthus leaves fill the top and bottom ones. The Basle crosier, originally enamelled in black, lies on the surface of the escutcheon which is engraved with fine tendrils. The small, charming figures give the escutcheon a monumental appearance. The foliage, the surface of the escutcheon and the uncovered parts of the wildman and wild woman in silver stand out from the gilt work. The goldsmith is unknown. The 'Bannwart' (field warden) of the Grossbasel land court wore the badge on the left side of his chest. On the back there are two bars and a hinge with a long pin and a protruding eye so that it could be fixed to his clothing; the badge was therefore known as a 'Fiirspanne' (something to be pinned on in front). Many of those who wore the badge have scratched their initials and various years on the back of it. Made about 1500, the badge reflects the self confidence of the politically independent citizenry and expresses their sense of worth and desire to impress; it is also a rare example of late medieval secular goldsmiths' work. The badge was copied with slight modifications by the goldsmiths Andreas Koch and Theodor Merian in 1561.

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