Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Crossbow of Count Ulrich V of Württemberg (1413–1480)

Attributed to Heinrich Heid von Winterthur (probably Swiss, active Stuttgart, recorded 1453–1460)
dated 1460
probably Stuttgart
German, probably Stuttgart
Wood (European hornbeam), horn, animal sinew, staghorn, birch bark, iron alloy, copper alloy, pigment
L. 28 1/16 in. (71.2 cm); W. 25 5/8 in. (65 cm); Wt. 6 lb. 9 oz. (2972 g)
Archery Equipment-Crossbows
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1904
Accession Number:
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
Related Objects


Date: ca. 1425–75 Medium: Wood (European hornbeam), horn, animal sinew, animal glue, birch bark, staghorn, iron alloy, hemp, leather Accession: 29.158.647 On view in:Gallery 373

Crossbow of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary (reigned 1458–1490)

Date: dated 1489 Medium: Wood, horn, animal sinew, staghorn, birch bark, iron alloy Accession: 25.42 On view in:Gallery 373

Quiver with Eleven Crossbow Bolts

Date: quiver, probably early 16th century; bolts, 14th–16th century Medium: Wood (oak, probably birch), tanned hide (possibly badger), paper, leather, steel, iron alloy Accession: 29.158.646a–l On view in:Gallery 375

Tournament Helm (Stechhelm)

Date: ca. 1500 Medium: Steel, copper alloy Accession: 29.156.67a On view in:Gallery 373

Double-Barreled Wheellock Pistol Made for Emperor Charles V (reigned 1519–56)

Artist: Peter Peck (German, Munich, 1503–1596) Date: ca. 1540–45 Medium: Steel, gold, wood (cherry), staghorn Accession: 14.25.1425 On view in:Gallery 375