Roundel with Playing at Quintain

Date: ca. 1500

Geography: Made in possibly Paris, France

Culture: French

Medium: Colorless glass, vitreous paint and silver stain

Dimensions: Overall: 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm)

Classification: Glass-Stained

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1980

Accession Number: 1980.223.6


Quintain originally was a tilting exercise in which a dummy or other target was employed by knights in training for the joust. Balance quintain was a variation to amuse those of a lower station: a seated man held up one leg, placing his foot against the foot of a standing man; one person then tried to upend the other. By the fifteenth century, balance quintain was often played as a courting game, as is depicted here. In the later Middle Ages, stained-glass roundels often decorated the windows of affluent burghers' houses in cities of northwestern Europe.