Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Crossbow of Count Ulrich V of Württemberg (1413–1480)

Maker:
Attributed to Heinrich Heid von Winterthur (probably Swiss, active Stuttgart, recorded 1453–1460)
Date:
dated 1460
Geography:
probably Stuttgart
Culture:
German, probably Stuttgart
Medium:
Wood (European hornbeam), horn, animal sinew, staghorn, birch bark, iron alloy, copper alloy, pigment
Dimensions:
L. 28 1/16 in. (71.2 cm); W. 25 5/8 in. (65 cm); Wt. 6 lb. 9 oz. (2972 g)
Classification:
Archery Equipment-Crossbows
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1904
Accession Number:
04.3.36
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373
Dated 1460 in the carved ivory decoration, this is the earliest known dated crossbow in existence. The ivory is inscribed with the coats of arms of Württemberg and Savoy, referring to the owner, Count Ulrich V of Württemberg (1413–1480), and his third wife, Princess Marguerite of Savoy (1420–1479). Above the trigger is a German benediction rendered in Hebrew letters. This is a rare and early instance of Hebraic script on a personal item intended for a Christian patron. It can be translated as "Hold God dear and be high-hearted!" or "Hold God dear, high-hearted one!"
Inscription: Inscribed: (in classic Hebraic characters but including several mistakes, on ivory plaque on underside of stock) HAB GOT LIEB HOCH HERZE; (in Gothic letters, on ivory plaque with arms of Württemberg) Gloria . in excelsis . deo . Et . in . terra . pax . hominibus . bon[a]e . voluntatis . Laudam[us] . te . Benedicti[mus] . te . 1460; (in Gothic letters, on ivory plaque with arms of Savoy) O Maria . graciosa . Dei . m[ate]r . generosa . Dig[n]a . laude . gloriosa . Sis . pro . nobis . speciosa . ad[?] M . CCCC . LX.

Marking: Heraldry: [on right side of stock] Württemberg: Or, three stag's antlers fessways in pale sable; [on left side of stock] Savoy: Gules, a cross argent.
Belonged to Ulrich V, Count of Württemberg, who married (in 1453) Princess Margaret, daughter of Amédée VIII, first duke of Savoy. Ex coll.: [Anonymous Collection, Paris]; Charles Alexander Baron de Cosson, Chertsey; Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Duc de Dino, Paris
de Cosson, Charles A. "The Crossbow of Ulrich V. Count of Wurtemburg [sic], 1460, with Remarks on Its Construction." Archaeologia 53, no. 2 (January 1893). pp. 445–64, pl. 34.

Catalogue of the Famous Collection of Armour and Arms Formed by That Well-Known Connoisseur, The Baron de Cosson, F.S.A., Which Has Been On Loan to the South Kensington Museum for the Last Two Years. London: Christie's, London, May 2–3, 1893. p. 33, no. 213.

de Cosson, Charles A. Le Cabinet D'Armes de Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Duc de Dino, Étude Descriptive par le Baron de Cosson. Paris, October 31, 1901. pp. 93–94.

Dean, Bashford. Catalogue of European Arms and Armor. Metropolitan Museum of Art Handbook, Vol. no. 15. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1905. p. 123.

Laking, Guy Francis, Sir, Charles Alexander Cosson, and Francis Henry Cripps-Day. A Record of European Armour and Arms through Seven Centuries. Vol. 3. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1920. pp. 135–136 and fig. 936 (p. 134).

Dean, Bashford. "A Crossbow of Matthias Corvinus, 1489." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 22, no. 9 (June 1925). pp. 154–57.

Dean, Bashford, and Robert T. Nichol. "European and Oriental, Metropolitan Museum of Art." In Handbook of Arms and Armor, edited by Stephen V. Grancsay. 4th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 1930. pp. 100-101.

The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. 1st Ed. ed. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1975. p. 222, no. 236, pl. 11.

The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1975. pp. 220, 222, no. 236, ill. p. 220.

Isenburg, Wilhelm Karl Prinz zu. "Die Deutschen Staaten." In Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, edited by Detlev Schwennicke, and Frank Freytag von Loringhoven. Vol. I. 3rd ed. ed. Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1980. pl. 123.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide, edited by Kathleen Howard. New York, 1983. p. 65.

"A Memorial Volume Published by the Society of Archer-Antiquaries;1990." In A Guide to the Crossbow. United Kingdom, 1990. pp. 67–68, pl. 12.

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor From the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49, no. 1 (Summer 1991). pp. 40–41, 64, ill. p. 40.

"With Introduction and Commentary." In Early Yiddish Texts, 1100–1750. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. pp. 68–69.

Die Hornbogenarmbrust: Geschichte und Technik. Ludwigshafen, 2006. pp. 42–43, fig. 26.

"Begleitbuch und Katalog zur Ausstellung des Landesarchivs Baden-Württemberg, Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart und des Landtags von Baden-Württemberg." In Landschaft, Land und Leute: Politische Partizipation in Württemberg 1457 bis 2007. Stuttgart, 2007. pp. 104–5, ill. (color), under no. II 4 a–c.

Breiding, Dirk H. "The Crossbow of Count Ulrich V of Württemberg." Metropolitan Museum Journal, Metropolitan Museum Journal, 44 (2009). pp. 61–87, ill. pp. 62–72.

Dahlström, Mikael. "Some Thoughts about Three 15th Century German Crossbows." Jahrblatt der Interessengemeinschaft Historische Armbrust (2011). p. 78.

Pyhrr, Stuart W. "Of Arms and Men: Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan, 1912–2012." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 70, no. 1 (Summer 2012). pp. 7–8, fig. 5.

Pyhrr, Stuart W. "Armor for America: The Duc de Dino Collection." Metropolitan Museum Journal, Metropolitan Museum Journal, 47 (2012). pp. 202–3, fig. 43.

Breiding, Dirk H. A Deadly Art: European Crossbows, 1250–1850. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013. pp. 23–26, no. 3, ill. p. 23 and figs. 1.6, 1.7, and 1.8.



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