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Wildmen on a stag hunt, wall hanging

Key data

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 Historisches Museum was funded by public and private donations. It is one of the most valuable textiles in the Basle collection. The sequence of images shows wildmen out hunting in the manner of noblemen. A hunter equipped with a boar spear, sword and hunting horn bids farewell to his wife who waves a cooking spoon. He follows his dogs who chase a stag towards a net. In the second section, the setting of a further net by two other wildmen is followed by the group of a hunter flirting with a female falconer. Another huntress hands a quail to her companion and, in the scroll, makes the ambiguous promise of giving him more of the «tame and wild» («Zahmem and Wildem»). The tapestry was made around 1468 for the marriage of Hans von Flachslanden to Barbara von Breitenlandenberg from St Gall. Hans von Flachslanden had been mayor of Basle from 1454 to 1463. Their coats of arms occupy the corners of the wall hanging. In accordance with the occasion of the commission the subject matter should be understood as a metaphor for the pursuit of the favours of the other sex.

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