L. 28 1/16 in. (71.2 cm); W. 25 5/8 in. (65 cm); Wt. 6 lb. 9 oz. (2972 g)
Rogers Fund, 1904
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