"Leuchterweibchen" (Hängeleuchter)

'Leuchterweibchen (chandelier lady)

Switzerland(?), ca. 1500
Stag antlers, wood with polychromy
length 100 cm, height 48 cm
Inv. 1874.6.

3057px x 2975px
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Antlers have always been imposing collectors' items and in many instances served an apotropaic function. Wall mounted candelabra with the antlers of a stag, an elk or an ibex surrounding, for example, a figure of a saint or the Madonna are documented as early as the C15. In the C16 antlers combined with half length figures were widely used in the German speaking area as ceiling candelabra. Even Albrecht Dürer took an interest in their construction and for his friend Pirckheimer drew a design for one in 1513. The light they provided was limited. Rather, their display function was predominant, and was underlined by mounting a coat of arms on the underside or front. The Basle 'Leuchterweibchen' (chandelier lady) shows the coat of arms of the Zunft zu Gartnern (gardeners' and grocers' guild), a three pronged fork. The fittings, with chains and an iron strut with four candle holders, are modest. Compared to examples from court or high bourgeois circles the figure seems rather crude, coming close to folk art.

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