Album of Tournaments and Parades in Nuremberg

Date: late 16th–mid-17th century

Geography: Nuremberg

Culture: German, Nuremberg

Medium: Pen and ink, watercolor, gold and silver washes; paper bound in gold-tooled leather

Dimensions: cover: 14 x 10 3/8 in. (35.56 x 26.35 cm); page: 13 5/8 x 9 7/8 in. (34.61 x 25.08 cm)

Classification: Books & Manuscripts

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1922

Accession Number: 22.229


This 112-sheet manuscript includes depictions of contestants equipped for various tournaments; a parade preceding a late form of tournament called a carrousel; participants in tournaments known as Gesellenstrechen, or bachelors' jousts, held in Nuremberg between 1446 and 1561; and depictions of pageant sleighs, some of which were used in a parade held in the winter of 1640–41. The illustrations are probably the work of a Briefmaler, or letter painter, who also would have written and embellished official documents and painted coats-of-arms.

In many instances, the names of the tournament participants are written above them. They are armed for the Gestech, the joust fought with blunt lances. A helmet and a four-pronged lance head similar to those in the album are also on display in gallery 373 (acc. nos. 29.156.67a, 42.50.40). Albums such as this provide an invaluable record of the jousters' colorful costumes, fanciful crests, and humorous, often satirical emblems that decorated the jouster's shields and horse trappings.