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Basel Historical Museum

Objects in the collection

Basel Historical Museum has a collection comprising over 250,000 objects. A selection of these is presented here.

The scientists, scholars and collectors of the 16th century and thereafter kept Wunderkammer full of spectacular objects and works of art. Among the treasures presented are some that originally belonged to the world-famous Amerbach Cabinet.

Discover further Swiss museum collections at Museums Online.

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Chosen Exhibits

Globe goblet

Jakob Stampfer, Zurich, 1550/1552 – Cast and beaten silver, engraved, and partly gold-plated – H 38 cm – Inv. 1882.103. – Amerbach Cabinet

Bonifacius Amerbach bought this superb piece from his friend Thomas Blarer, the Mayor of …

Bust reliquary of St Pantalus from the treasury of Basle Munster

Basle, after 1270 – Silver and copper, embossed, engraved, gilded – height 49 cm – Inv. 1882.87.

Of all the different forms of reliquary, the head or bust reliquary is particularly …

Oval box

Johann Ulrich Fechter 11, Basle, ca. 1720 – Silver, embossed, cast, chased, punched, parcel gilt – height 7.4 cm, width 9.3 cm, length 11.5 cm – Inv. 1991.256.

The gilded box stands on a protruding wavy edged rim that is repeated on the lid. The …

Goblet with cover belonging to the Zunft zu Hausgenossen (House companions' guild)

Sebastian Merian, Basle, 1687 – Silver, cast, embossed, chased, punched, engraved, parcel gilt, height 59 cm – Inv. 1895.63.

In Basle the goldsmiths, coiners, money changers, jewellers and foundrymen were amalgamated …

The Hüglin monstrance from the treasury of Basle Munster

Basle, ca. 1505 – Silver, cast, embossed, parcel gilt, with enamel – height 88.7 cm – Inv. 1882.79.

Stylistic comparison with another tower monstrance by the Basle goldsmith Simon Nachbur …

Griffin goblet of the Zunft zu Webern (weavers' guild)

Philipp Jacob Drentwett IV, Augsburg, 1708 10; Silver, cast, embossed, chased, engraved, parcel gilt – height 45.6 cm, diameters of base 30 x 24.6 cm – Inv. 1887.3.

Among the emblematic table decorations of the Basle guilds and corporations this griffin …

The Munch monstrance from the treasury of Basle Munster

Basle, 1490/93 – Silver, embossed, cast – height 110 cm – Inv. 1955.330.

This monstrance, which bears the arms of the Munch family, is the most important …


Circle of Martin Schongauer, Basle(?)/Upper Rhine, ca. 1490/1500 – Silver, beaten, engraved, parcel gilt, diameter 12 cm – Inv. 1878.42.

Two curved, silver disks are joined together by a decorated rim to form a capsule like …

Two smelling bottles

Left: Basle(?), dated 1760 – right: Basle(?), 2nd third 18th century – Silver, cast, engraved, height 10.5 cm – silver, cast, engraved, enamelled, height 8.2 cm – Inv. 1887.7. – Inv. 1926.39.

Bottles made to contain aromatic essences come in a great variety of shapes and materials. …

Salver with a scene from a bear hunt

Hans Rudolf Meyer, Basle, ca. 1680 – Silver, embossed, chased, engraved – diameters 34 x40.5 cm – Inv.1941.478.

During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, apart from sacred and mythological subjects, …

Cutlery and case

Jakob d'Annone, Basle, ca. 1717/44 – Silver gilt, engraved – worked morocco case – length of case 12.5 cm, width 5.5 cm, height 3.5 cm – Inv 1912.626.

According to Amaranthe's Nutzbares... Frauenzimmer Lexicon (Useful lexicon for ladies), …

The Innocents or Apostle monstrance from the treasury of Basle Munster

Basle, ca. 1335/40 – Silver, cast, embossed, gilded, with translucent basse taille enamel – height 74.2 cm – Inv. 1933.159.

This outstanding work is the earliest of the reliquary monstrances from the treasury of …

Pail drinking vessel, of the Weinleutenzunft (vintners' guild)

Dated 1613; Hans Lupold, Basle – Silver, cast, embossed, chased, engraved, parcel gilt, height 19 cm – Inv. 1889.13.

The Zunft zu Weinleuten (vintners' guild) bears a measuring pail on its coat of arms. A …

Screech owl goblet

Jakob Christoph Mentzinger, Basle, ca. 1600 – Silver, cast, embossed, chased, punched, engraved, parcel gilt, height 20.7 cm – Inv. 1914.597.

Among the different types of drinking vessel in the shape of an animal, silver owl or …

Double mazer (the Luther goblet)

South or middle Germany, ca. 1530 – Pearwood, lathe turned, with engraved silver gilt mounts – height 27cm – Inv. 1922.195.

The Museum owns two such drinking vessels of turned hardwood, which were widespread …

Agate bowl and case

Johann Georg Kobenhaupt, Stuttgart, ca. 1610/20 – Agate with silver gilt and enamelled mounts – height 15.5cm – case of leather, gold stamped – Inv. 1882.88.

This sexfoil bowl and 18 similar extant objects are the work of the Stuttgart gem cutter …

Cup with cover

Andreas Koch, Basle, ca. 1550 – Silver, cast, embossed, engraved, parcel gilt – height 17.7 cm – Inv. 1962.62.

This work by Andreas Koch (1522-1572) is one of the earliest pieces of Basle goldsmiths' …

St George and the Dragon drinking vessel

Hans Bernhard Koch, Basle, ca. 1600 – Silver, cast, embossed, chased, engraved, parcel gilt – height 29.5 cm – Inv. 1915.241.

Among figurative pieces of table decoration this disguised drinking vessel is particularly …

Small standing cross from the treasury of Basle Munster

Basle, ca. 1493 – Silver, embossed, engraved, parcel gilt – height26.8 cm – Inv. 1909.475.

Altar crosses, reliquary crosses, and processional crosses symbolizing the Redemption of …

Reliquary in the shape of a house from the treasury of Basle Munster

Basle, end 14th century – Silver, sheet and cast, parcel gilt, on a wooden core – height 35 cm, width 39 cm, depth 31 cm – Inv. 1882.85.

Reliquaries in shapes inspired by architecture were numerous in the Middle Ages and were …

The Virgin and Child

Hans Harthauser, Ravensburg, beginning 16th century – Silver, embossed, parcel gilt – overall height 57.7 cm – Inv. 1896.21.

An octagonal console with engraved, patterned sides carries the mound upon which the Virgin …

Small processional cross from the treasury of Basle

Basle, ca. 1320 – Silver, engraved, parcel gilt, with translucent basse taille enamel – height 27 cm – Inv. 1922.261.

The cross served as the uppermost element of a banner on a silver shaft, which would have …

Griffin drinking vessel, belonging to the Gesellschaft zum Greifen (corporation of the Griffin)

Sebastian Schilling 1, Basle, 1606 – Silver, cast, embossed, chased, gilded – height 32 cm, weight 1498 g, capacity 0.42 I – Inv. 1895.139.

It is already described as established practice in the 1597 'Regiment und Ordnung' (rule …

The Buxtorf cup

Melchior Trüb, Zurich, 1638 – Silver, cast, embossed, chased, engraved – height 20 cm – Inv. 1947.273.

In goldsmiths' work of the late Renaissance and Baroque the shell motif was very popular, …

The Rotberg chalice from the treasury of Basle Münster

Basle, ca. 1451 – Silver, embossed, cast, chased, gilded, with niello and enamel – height 21.6 cm – Inv. 1894.346.

The appeal of this well proportioned communion cup does not depend upon a wealth of …

Goblet with cover

Johann Jakob Handmann lI, Basle, ca. 1790 – Silver, cast, embossed, chased, punched, engraved – height 34 cm – Inv. 1882.186.

On New Year's day 1790 Hans Rudolf Gessler, formerly Lieutenant Colonel of the royal French …

The Dorothy or Offenburg monstrance from the treasury of Basle Munster

Basle, 1430/40 – Silver, cast, embossed, parcel gilt, with paste and semi precious stones – height 55 cm – Inv. 1882.81.

A small door on the simple reverse reveals that the monstrance was originally a reliquary. …

Golden figure of King David from the treasury of Basle Munster

Ca. 1280 and ca. 1320 – Gold, gilt silver, translucent basse taille enamel – height 21.6 cm (without wooden base 17.7 cm) Inv. 1882.80.a.

This miniature statuette is one of the finest and most mysterious objects from the treasury …

Beaker with cover formerly owned by Erasmus

Basle(?), ca. 1490, with later additions – Silver, cast, embossed, gilded – height 14 cm – Inv.1928.210.

The particular interest of this simple vessel made from hammered and gilt silver lies in …

Fool's head beaker

Zurich(?), ca. 1556 – Coconut with silver mounts embossed, engraved, parcel gilt, height 10.5 cm – Inv. 1892.183.

The unknown goldsmith made use of the germination points of the coconut and the ridges …


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