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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

Wildmen on a stag hunt, wall hanging

Basel, ca. 1468 – Wool tapestry, two sections each height 123–128.5 cm, width 253 cm – Inv. 1981.88.

The purchase of this tapestry from a South German collection for the 1981 reopening of the …

Louis XVI of France

dated 1795; France (Paris?) Embroidery of coloured silks on paper – diameters of image 10.5 x 8.5 cm – of frame 14 x 12.3 cm – Inv. 1893.372.

This embroidery was made in 1795, two years after the execution of Louis and Marie …

The Bischofszell tapestry

Eastern Switzerland, 1st third 10th century – Embroidery, wool on woollen cloth, height 117 cm, width 285 cm – Inv. 1873.6.

The richly detailed pictorial chronicle was created by the subtle combination of different …

Wall hanging

dated 1598, Basle(?) Embroidery, wool and metal thread on linen, height 75 cm, width 230 cm – Inv. 1910.225.

This tapestry, formerly owned by an old Basle family, documents the life of an otherwise …

Les Adieux du Fermier, wall hanging

Aubusson, after Jean Baptiste Huet, ca. 1790 – Wool tapestry, height 236 cm, width 444 cm – Inv. 1923.320.a.1.

In the C18 it was fashionable in bourgeois houses in Basle as it sometimes still is today …

Garden of love with a pavilion, wall hanging

Basle, ca. 1490 – Wool tapestry, three fragments, of height 95 cm, width 50 51 cm – height 103 cm, width 131 cm – height 98 cm, width 78 cm – Inv. 1870.741.

The central scene of the tapestry shows the summertime pursuits of people in courtly dress …

Crucifix for a chasuble(?)

Basle(?), ca. 1521/22 – Embroidery, gold thread and coloured silks on linen – height 125.5 cm, width 54 cm – Inv. 1917.684.

The crucifix embroidered in fine needlework is believed to have come from the Amerbach …

'Coffetuch', tablecloth

Grossschönau, Saxony, ca. 1770 – Silk damask in two colours – height 110.5 cm, width 89 cm – Inv. 1968.163.

The term damask evokes the idea of white table linen with a delicate white design. The …

Altar frontal with three scenes from the Life of Christ

Basle, ca. 1440/50 – Wool tapestry – height 104 cm, width 298 cm – Inv. 1920.107.

The scenes from the Life of Christ in the middle section of the frontal are flanked by Sts …

Six lords and ladies with fabulous beasts, fragment of a wall hanging

Basle, ca. 1410/20 – Wool tapestry, three pieces, of height 70 cm, width 207 cm – height 77.5 cm, width 206 cm – height 75 cm, width 75.5 cm – original overall length ca. 630 cm – Inv. 1880.61.

The survival of this tapestry is due to the historian Auguste Quiquerez, who discovered the …

Two silk ribbon samples

Basle, ca. 1913 – Silk warp threads, printed with coloured inks, width 22.5 cm each, in a pattern book – height 48 cm, width 36 cm, depth 8.5 cm – Inv. 1981.539.109.

After the collapse of traditional silk ribbon weaving, only a few Basle ribbon …

Rainbow flag

1990–1995 – Polyester, dyed and sewn; remains of candle wax – H 85 cm, W 157 cm – Inv. 2007.376.

Designed in the USA in 1978 as a symbol of gay pride, the rainbow flag became a badge of …

Ribbon loom

Basel, dated 1776 – Wood – H 200 x W 240 x D 140 cm – Inv. 1881.166.

Basel’s silk-ribbon industry was initiated by refugees from the Netherlands and France in …

Canton of the Basel “Julius Banner”

Basel, ca. 1513 – Relief embroidery with gold and silk thread, spangles and pearls on silk damask; sceptre and rosettes: gold work – H 37.5 cm, W 37.5 cm – Inv. 1882.92.

The victories of the Swiss against Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy in 1476/1477 earned …

“Wild woman” with unicorn

Strasbourg, ca. 1500/1510 – Tapestry: wool, linen, cotton, silk, metallic thread – H 75 cm, W 63 cm – Inv. 1926.40.

This excellent piece of tapestry was originally a cushion panel, which explains the small …

Sion Wall-hanging

Upper Italy, 2nd half of 14th century – Linen printed with woodblocks – Dyes containing lampblack and red chalk – H 106 cm x W 264 cm – Inv. 1897.48.

Scholars began discussing the “Sion Wall-hanging" – as this large fragment of a …

Mended sock

Basel, 1905–1910 – White and red cotton, knitted – L 20 cm – Inv. 2002.405.

This red-and-white knitted sock in a small child’s size was never actually worn, despite …


Basel Historical Museum
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