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Coaches and Sledges

Pallas-Athena Sleigh

Key data

Homburg, Läufelfingen Basel-Landschaft, 18th cent.

Wood, iron

H. 189 cm, L. 222 cm, W. 95 cm

Inv. 1896.36.


This sleigh comes from the Oberbaselbiet originally, specifically from Schloss Homburg near Läufelfingen, which from 1400 until the Revolution of 1798 was the official residence of the Vogts appointed by the city of Basel to govern that area.
The sleigh is decorated with a motif from Classical mythology: a large, polychrome figure of the goddess Pallas-Athena, armed with spear and shield. Both figure and sleigh date from the early 18th century, although the figure’s flat, round base suggests that it was not intended for a sleigh originally. It might have been a house sign or a fountain figure, or perhaps adorned a library, as did many other figures of the goddess of science and wisdom. The figure of Pallas-Athena was probably mounted onto an ordinary sleigh in the late 18th century, while the rather crude wooden box for the feet was added in the 19th century. To judge by the condition of the figure, the sleigh was kept under cover to protect it against the elements.
The sleigh with a two-seater seat facing to one side would have been drawn by a single horse in a simple harness without either traces or breeching straps. When traces were added at a later date, the sleigh had to be retrofitted with a whippletree.

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Basel Historical Museum
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CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00

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