Archive for March, 2021

Getty acquires rediscovered Artemisia Gentileschi Lucretia

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is the proud new owner of a previously unknown painting by trailblazing Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. It depicts the Roman heroine Lucretia in the moment before she plunges a dagger into her heart. Lucretia, raped by the son of Tarquin, king of Rome, demanded her relatives avenge her honor, then killed herself in front of them. Her act spurred the tyrannicide of Tarquin by Lucius Junius Brutus and the founding of the Roman Republic.

The painting is in exceptional condition, small details like the tears welling up in Lucretia’s eyes still clear and untouched by the passage of centuries, poor storage conditions or misguided restoration attempts. It’s rare for a Baroque era painting to survive in such a pristine state of preservation.

Lucretia first surfaced in 2019 when it was sold at a Paris auction. The sellers had bought it in Cannes in the 1980s and kept it in their Lyon home for 40 years, unpublished and unknown. There are only about 60 known paintings that can be attributed to Artemisia Gentileschi, and a good half of them cannot be conclusively authenticated as works of her hand, so her paintings are very highly coveted the rare times they come up for auction.  Surprisingly absolutely nobody, the rediscovered work blew past the risibly low presale estimate (€600,000 – €800,000) and sold for €4,777,000 ($5.3 million), including the buyer’s premium and taxes.

The auction experts dated it to between 1630 and 1635, the late part of her career when she lived in Naples. Lucretia’s suicide was a subject she returned to repeatedly in her career. Another from the early years of her life Naples sold at auction in 2018 for $2.2 million. The earliest known Lucretia was painted around 1623-5 when Artemisia lived in Rome. It is now in the private collection of paisley mogul Gerolamo Etro in Milan.

The Getty’s research indicates the rediscovered Lucretia likely predates her Naples sojourn and was made around 1627 when Artemisia lived in Venice.

There is evidence that Artemisia painted this Lucretia during her time in Venice in the late 1620s. With its swirling and exuberant drapery, and its free brushstrokes, the picture shows the profound engagement with the artistic legacy of 16th-century Venetian painting, especially with the female protagonists of paintings by Titian and Veronese. The painting also reflects Artemisia’s close contact with expatriates active in Venice in the 1620s, such as the French Nicolas Régnier, the German Johann Liss, and the Genoese Bernardo Strozzi.

In 1627, a pamphlet was printed containing a number of poems dedicated to four of Artemisia’s paintings executed in Venice: two on a self-portrait, one each on a Susanna and a Sleeping Cupid, and three on a Lucretia. The author was likely Giovanni Francesco Loredan, one of a close-knit group of writers, artists, musicians, librettists, and patrons who were associated with Artemisia during her Venetian sojourn. It is highly probable that the Getty’s Lucretia is the same painting praised in the poems published in Venice in 1627.

“With the discovery of new documents and the emergence of new paintings, our understanding of Artemisia’s art has become much more complex and nuanced in the last 20 years. This recently rediscovered work sheds a new light on a crucial and hitherto overlooked moment of her career, when the painter is transitioning from the Caravaggism that had been the hallmark of her formative years to a more graceful and idealized manner which will characterize her maturity,” said Davide Gasparotto, senior curator of paintings at the Getty Museum. “Lucretia is a powerful and compelling example of Artemisia’s most significant type of subject, the representation of dynamic female figures which appear in control of their own destiny; but with its lyrical and sophisticated expressivity, its creamy impasto and vibrant brushwork, the painting is also suggestive of new directions in her artistic itinerary”.

The Getty is currently closed due to you know what, but it is expected to reopen in the next few weeks. Lucretia will be on display to welcome visitors when it does.

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136-year-old lifeboat found in hay shed rafters

Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

The wooden lifeboat that carried the crew to safety after their ship wrecked off the western coast of Australia in 1891 has been found intact in the rafters of a hay shed. Archaeologist Bob Sheppard was taking a tour of the old farm’s historic outbuildings. John Grigson showed him the nifty boat in the rafters and told him it was the lifeboat of the Maid of Lincoln. The remains of the Maid were never found, so this is the only known artifact from the shipwreck and it is in excellent condition.

The Maid of Lincoln was a 12-horsepower wooden steamer built in Port Lincoln in 1885. It primarily served harbor duty for its first few years. In 1889 it caught fire while at anchor in South Bay and was heavily damaged in the conflagration. It was repaired and put back to work.

It wasn’t fire damage that brought it down in the end. The ship set out on April 11, 1891, carrying a load of guano from the Abrolhos Islands, rich seabird nesting sites, to Bunbury. Its captain, William Millar, ordered changes to the course heading but stayed below deck so much that he didn’t realize it was getting to close to the coast and that the visibility was too poor for the helmsman to adjust. At 2:00 AM, the Maid of Lincoln struck a reef eight miles south of Jurien Bay off Hill River and quickly sank.

The captain, a half-dozen crew members and one stowaway who only made his presence known when the ship was rapidly filling with water, managed to get on the ship’s lifeboat and launch it before the ship went down, but they didn’t have the time to salvage any supplies. Half of the crew didn’t even have the time to put shoes on. When they made it safely to Jurien Bay, the shoeless survivors stayed behind on the beach and the other half of the party went inland to Cockleshell Gully where they reached the Grigson farm. John Grigson’s grandfather transported the refugees to Geraldton on by horse and cart. Captain Millar gave the lifeboat to Grigson to thank him for his aid.

The family used it as a fishing boat and kept it out on the veranda. Around 70 or 80 years ago, they retired it permanently and stashed it up in the shed they’d built in 1901. It has been peacefully collecting spider webs ever since. The rafters are in worse condition than the boat. Devoured by white ants, they are not what you would call structurally sound at this point, and the boat was at risk of collapse.

Removing the boat was a delicate operation. An archaeologist and expert on ropes was enlisted and he designed a cunning rig made of old ladders, fencing and ropes to carefully raise the boat off the rafters and then lower it to the ground. They didn’t know how heavy it was or how it might react to the pressures of transport, but the old lifeboat proved remarkably sturdy yet. The team was able to remove it intact without incident.

For now it resides in a weather-proof storage shed. Sheppard hopes to find a permanent home for it in a museum. The Grigson family has stipulated that it must remain in Jurien Bay for the community to enjoy this rare piece of its maritime history.

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Huge pottery production complex found in Poland

Monday, March 29th, 2021

Archaeologists have found the remains of a massive Roman-era pottery production facility in Wrzępia, southern Poland. A geophysical survey of the five-hectare site found approximately 130 furnaces, which makes it by far the largest pottery production site of its type in Poland and one of the largest in Eastern Europe. The pottery was in operation from the late 2nd/early 3rd century to the 5th.

Two of the kilns have now been excavated, and the fragments found  indicate the facility specialized in one type of pottery.

“Our research shows that only storage vessels with characteristic thickened spouts were produced there. These were large vessels up to 50 cm in diameter and about 70 cm high. The vessels were most likely used for storage – e.g. food. type of vessels where they probably played the role of peculiar pantries “- explains archaeologist Jan Bulas. […]

Dishes fired in open furnaces were made with the use of a potter’s wheel, which became popular in this area at that time.

Veterans of the legions who settled beyond the Roman limes brought Roman technology (like the pottery wheel), craftsmanship and consumer goods which were adopted by the Germanic peoples, particularly by the elite who increasingly lived a Romanized lifestyle. We know from coin finds that there was a significant flow of Roman money to what is now Lesser Poland in the late 2nd, early 3rd century A.D. After a dip in the late 3rd century, transfers of Roman coinage picked back up in the 4th before coming to a halt in the middle of the 5th century.

This coincides roughly with the dates of the Wrzępia facility. Large-scale production facilities like the pottery attest to how Roman technology and mass-production of consumer goods spread outside the boundary of the Empire. The kilns were a local operation run by the Vandals who inhabited the area. Its large size and specialized production shows there was a thriving, active, complex economy in the area.

Excavation of the site has ended for now. Researchers will focus on cleaning, conserving and studying the artifacts they’ve recovered so far and hope to return next year to excavate as many of the 130 kilns as possible.

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Curule chair found in Roman funeral pyre

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

The charred remains of a curule chair have been recovered from a 1st century A.D. funeral pyre in the town of Épagny-Metz-Tessy in southeastern France. Archaeologists discovered the remains of two Roman funeral pyres in a salvage excavation before construction of new residential buildings.

The first pyre is the oldest of the two. It contains the remains of a young child between five and eight years old at time of death. The pyre was furnished with a great abundance of goods, including 17 ceramic vessels, 10 bronze vases and four glass vessels containing the remains of food offerings (lentils, beans, pork, rooster, wine). It was the child’s final banquet, and it was a grand one. Other goods were use items — three copper alloy strigils, bone game tokens — and furnishings (the funeral bed, boxes).

The second pyre was far more elaborate. The deceased was an adult of relatively advanced age, and clearly someone of immense wealth and rank. His grave contained 20 ceramic vases, at least 20 glass containers, 46 bronze utensils and kitchenware containing the remains of wine, lentils, beans, beef, pork, hare, rooster, partridge, duck and fish. There were strigils in this grave too, silver ones, plus a pair of gold earrings and a fragment of a textile embroidered with gold thread.

Amidst all these fine treasures, one object stands out for its symbolism and rarity: an iron curule chair with bronze decorations.

The X-shaped seat is composed of two iron frames with “S” uprights, articulated and intended to work with a set of leather or fabric straps stretched to allow seating. The feet are flat circular shapes and arranged perpendicular to the uprights which themselves have a rectangular section. The two sets of crossbars have round sections. The heads of the uprights are divided into two lateral tabs forming a semicircle framing a rod of round section; a washer is affixed halfway up the rod. The end of the latter is put down to fix everything.

The curule chair is one of the major symbols of power in Rome. Of Etruscan tradition, its use is reserved in Rome, initially, to the high magistrates (consuls, praetors) holders of the imperium, that is to say the power to order and to punish. Under Augustus, it is one of the attributes of the emperor. Two types of seat are referenced. On the one hand, the sella curulis strictly speaking, recognizable by its “S” shaped legs: initially reserved for the civil magistracy, it became a luxury household item reserved for an elite from the 1st century AD. On the other hand, the sella castrensis with its “X” profile which is the prerogative of military officers.

Curule chairs are found carved on funerary stele where they symbolize the deceased’s important civic role, but the chairs themselves are vanishingly rare finds in funerary contexts or any other, for that matter. A grand total of eight folding x-shaped chairs have been found in Roman burials France, and this latest discovery is only the fourth full-featured sella curulis.

Of the eight examples listed in France, seven are cremations. This practice makes it almost impossible to determine the sex of the deceased. As for the only burial, it is attributed to a woman.

Thus, if the presence of the seat would be statistically more in favor of a male subject, the hypothesis of a deceased cannot be ruled out and the presence of the earrings would moreover plead more in favor of this possibility.

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Restored Ghent Altarpiece returns to Saint Bavo

Saturday, March 27th, 2021

Almost a decade after a comprehensive multidisciplinary program of conservation and restoration began, the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, also known as the Ghent Altarpiece, has gone back on display at Saint Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent in a new high-tech setting.

The double-sided 12-panel polyptych by Hubert and Jan van Eyck has been relocated from a small chapel near the entrance to the Sacrament chapel, one of the largest chapels in the cathedral and close to the location where the altarpiece was first installed. The space was enlarged to make way for a new bespoke display case and to aid in the flow of traffic when visitors can once again flock to see the Northern Renaissance’s greatest masterpiece.

The custom case cost more than $35 million. It is bulletproof, climate controlled and contains pneumatically controlled steel supports that allow the wings of the panels to be opened every morning and closed every evening so at different times visitors can see both the vividly colored front of the panels and the muted tones and grisailles on the reverse.

Experts from the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA, Brussels) discovered a great deal about the iconic masterpiece, removing centuries of discolored varnish, retouches and overpaint to reveal the original work by the van Eycks. From 2012 until its completion at the end of 2019, the program’s archival research, radiography, multispectral imaging and ground-breaking technical study cast new light on Van Eyck’s original vision for the polyptych. The Mystic Lamb, central figure of the composition, got a completely new face, or rather got his first, much more human-like face back.

The research, documentation and imaging data were integrated into a truly best-in-class website with high-resolution photographs of the Ghent Altarpiece. The website has been active for years, sharing the results of this seminal study of the altarpiece in granular, brushstroke-level detail. Most recently, the complete oeuvre of Jan van Eyck, his studio and followers has been added to the site, so its purview goes far beyond the altarpiece alone.

Visitors to Saint Bavo’s will first be directed to the crypt where art works and objects related to the altarpiece and the Van Eycks, including the grave of Hubert van Eyck, are exhibited. The experience is enhanced by Microsoft HoloLens, which unlike VR helmets allows users to see the space as it is while adding a digital layer of augmented reality. The headset tours will illuminate the history of the altarpiece, how it was created, the meaning of its dense allegories and portraits.

For now, pandemic measures restrict the number of visitors allowed into the crypt and the chapel — 350 tickets a day for the former, five people at a time for the latter.

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Spider god mural found in Peru

Friday, March 26th, 2021

Archaeologists have discovered a mural depicting the spider god of the pre-Hispanic Cupisnique culture in the Lambayeque region of northern Peru. The mural was applied to the mud brick wall 50 feet wide 16 feet of a sacred structure. It was painted in ochre, yellow, grey against a white background. It’s hard to make out now that so much of it is lost, but the yellow zig-zag bits are the legs of the spider god. The vertical ochre stripe down the middle of the legs is the abdomen. The ochre gum-drop shape surrounded by a yellow boundary and topped by a blue rectangle is interpreted as the hilt of a knife or dagger.

The spider god was associated with rainfall, fertility and hunting. Archaeologist Régulo Franco Jordán hypothesizes that this temple, which was built close to the river, was dedicated to water deities.

“The spider on the shrine is associated with water and was an incredibly important animal in pre-Hispanic cultures, which lived according to a ceremonial calendar. It’s likely that there was a special, sacred water ceremony held between January and March when the rains came down from the higher areas.”

The Cupisnique occupied the northern coast of Peru between around 2000 and 500 B.C., and several of their adobe temples have been discovered in Lambayeque. Unfortunately callous agricultural expansion has taken an enormous toll on the region’s irreplaceable cultural heritage. The Early Cupisnique brick temple at Ventarrón was consumed in a fire https://www.cnn.com/2017/11/13/americas/ancient-peruvian-mural-destroyed-in-fire/index.html set by farmers burning their sugar cane fields. Its murals, radiocarbon dated to 2000 B.C., the oldest absolutely dated mural art in the Americas, were completely destroyed.

The recently-discovered huaca, dubbed Tomabalito, also suffered extensive damage when neighboring farmers attempted to expand their avocado and sugar cane cultivation. Using earthmovers, they leveled an estimated 60% of the ancient temple complex. The existence of the temple only came to light in November 2020, when Régulo Franco Jordán, discoverer of the Lady of Cao burial, was informed of the appearance of monumental mural. He inspected the find himself, and identified it as a Cupisnique construction based on the characteristic conical adobe used to make the wall. He believes it’s about 3,200 years old.

Jordán reported the discovery to regional cultural heritage authorities who initiated an emergency archaeological intervention. The aim for now is to conserve what’s left of the mural and of the site. While archaeologists are investigating, authorities have applied for the area to be declared a protected site. They have also filed a complaint against the people who bulldozed the site.

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Boat grave warriors laid to rest on down bedding

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

The warriors in two Iron Age boat graves in Valsgärde, outside Uppsala in central Sweden, were laid softly to their eternal rest on down bedding. The boat graves date to the 7th century, and their featherbeds are the oldest down bedding known in Scandinavia.

Feathers were widely traded in the Middle Ages, and there are extensive records of the trade going back to the 15th century. Eiderdown from the St. Cuthbert’s duck (aka, the common eider) was the most popular feather commodity, harvested from purpose-built nesting boxes on the northern coast of Norway and sold over trade routes throughout Scandinavia and Europe. The earliest written reference comes Ohthere of Hålogaland, the Viking explorer who relayed an account of his travels to King Alfred of Wessex in the late 9th century. He said the Sami people payed their taxes to him in buckets full of feathers.

Feathers are infrequent survivors on the archaeological record, so the bedding in the Valsgärde burials provides a rare opportunity to investigate what was a highly-prized and valuable commodity. Researchers studied the feathers to determine their origins and assess whether they may have been traded over long distances, like the eiderdown from north Norway.

Excavated starting in the 1930s, burials Valsgärde 7 and 8 were two of 15 richly-furnished warrior boat burials from the Late Iron Age found at the site. The two boats are 30 feet long and have no masts. They were row boats, long enough to accommodate four or five pairs of oars. The men were inhumed with highly decorated helmets, shields, swords and daggers as well as use items like hunting gear and cooking tools. The remains of feather-stuffed pillows and bolsters were found under the warriors, the shields the helmet.

In a new study, scientists took samples of feathers from several places in the boat graves and examined them microscopically to identify what species they came from. The results were short on eider duck feathers, although there were some. The feathers were sourced from a surprising variety of birds including geese, ducks, grouse, crows, sparrows, waders and eagle owls. There is no indication that they were traded from far-away northern climes; they were harvested locally, or from the nearby Baltic coast.

The great variety of species gave the researchers unique insight into the bird fauna in the immediate area in prehistoric times, along with people’s relationship to it.

“The feathers provide a source for gaining new perspectives on the relationship between humans and birds in the past. Archaeological excavations rarely find traces of birds other than those that were used for food,” [researcher Birgitta Berglund] says.

“We also think the choice of feathers in the bedding may hold a deeper, symbolic meaning. It’s exciting.”

Berglund explains that according to Nordic folklore, the type of feathers contained in the bedding of the dying person was important.

“For example, people believed that using feathers from domestic chickens, owls and other birds of prey, pigeons, crows and squirrels would prolong the death struggle. In some Scandinavian areas, goose feathers were considered best to enable the soul to be released from the body. […] The examples show that that feathers in the bedding from Valsgärde most likely also had a deeper meaning than just serving as a filler. “

The study has been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports and can be read here.

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Roman villa with large mosaic found in Spain

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

The remains of a grand Roman estate with a large floor mosaic has been unearthed in the town of Rus in southern Spain. Found in the El Altillo neighborhood, the villa was in use between the first and fifth centuries, with the bulk of the construction documented thus far dating to the fourth century. The mosaic features motifs like guilloche knots and fleurs des lis in at least three colors.

Tesserae from the mosaics were discovered during recent agricultural activity in an olive grove half a mile from the center of town. They were reported the municipal authorities and the city commissioned archaeologists from the University of Jaén to do an emergency investigation of the site. When a geophysical survey and collection of material on the ground determined the site had significant archaeological potential, exploratory excavations followed.

The immediate goal was to document rooms with mosaic elements that might be in danger from agricultural work and/or looting. The investigation also aimed to map out the structures and uses of the ancient villa, exploring adjacent properties with the permission of the landowners to get a preliminary overview of the site.

The team found that the Roman estate was an expansive one and combined a large private residence with industrial areas. The mosaic covers the floor of the main reception room of the private residence. It was originally 30 feet wide and 60 feet long when intact, which would have made it one of the largest Roman mosaics ever discovered in the southern Iberian peninsula.

Across the property from the residence were production facilities for olive oil and a pottery kiln where roof tiles were made. There is also a burial area that dates to the Late Imperial period.

The city is excited by the prospect of an important archaeological asset attracting tourism, especially one connected to the area’s long tradition of olive oil production. It is working on drawing up new rules and processes to protect the remains that have been unearthed and to continue the excavations, in the future with the aid of volunteers from the community. The city council also hopes to have the site declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, which would give them access to funds to support additional exploration and preservation of the villa and its remains.

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Gold foil mask found at Bronze Age Sichuan site

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

More than 500 important artifacts, including a rare gold foil mask, have been unearthed in six newly-discovered sacrificial pits at the Sanxingdui Bronze Age archaeological site in Guanghan, Sichuan, China. The gold mask is incomplete, but more than half of it survives. About 3,000 years old, the mask is large at nine inches wide and 11 inches high, the biggest of its kind ever discovered at the site. It weighs about 280 grams (10 oz) and is 84% pure. Archaeologists estimate that when intact, the mask weighed more than 500 grams, which would have made it not just the largest gold mask ever found, but also the heaviest gold object from the Bronze Age China.

Crammed to the gills with bronze sculptures, vessels, bells, altars, tools as well as jade and ivory objects, when the first two sacrificial pits were discovered within a month of each other in the summer of 1986, they revealed a previously unknown artistic style of such antiquity that upended the conventional wisdom that the dawn of Chinese art was centered in the Yellow River civilizations. Many of the objects found in the pits bore evidence of burning. Archaeologists believe the pits were used to house the ritual sacrifice of valuable and religiously symbolic objects. They were set alight in the pit and buried.

Artifacts from the Sanxingdui culture date to between 1700 and 1150 B.C. and attest to a highly developed bronze-making culture. The oldest free-standing life-sized bronze sculpture of a human (8’6″) was discovered in one of the Sanxingdui sacrificial pits, as was a stylized bronze tree 13 feet high adorned with birds and flowers. The two pits also contained dozens of bronze masks, several of which were originally adorned with gold foil coverings like the one discovered in the recent excavation of Pit No. 5. Archaeologists hypothesize that the masks may have been mounted on wooden poles or perhaps worn in rituals to represent gods or ancestors.

Sanxingdui is believed to have sat at the heart of the Shu state, which historians know relatively little about due to scant written records. Discoveries made at the site date back to the 12th and 11th centuries BC, and many of the items are now on display at an on-site museum.

The site has revolutionized experts’ understanding of how civilization developed in ancient China. In particular, evidence of a unique Shu culture suggests that the kingdom developed independently of neighboring societies in the Yellow River Valley, which was traditionally considered to be the cradle of Chinese civilization.

The Sanxingdui site has been archaeologically overlooked for decades, but a new push to study the rituals and ceremonies of this Bronze Age culture reopened excavations. These are the first new sacrificial pits found since the first two were unearthed 35 years ago. The third pit emerged on November 2019, and pits 4-8 were discovered from January through May 2020. They are rectangular in shape and range in dimensions from 38 square feet to more than 200 square feet. Archaeologists have excavated four of the pits to the artifact level and the remaining two to the fill layer covering the artifacts. Excavations will continue until the pits are fully explored.

Among the artifacts recovered are more gold ornaments — circles, birds, pieces of gold foil — bronze vessels with intricate anthropomorphic and zoomorphic decorative motifs, bronze masks, bronze trees, jade objects, whole trunks of elephant ivory plus carved ivory objects. Extremely rare bronze finds include a large vessel shaped like an owl and a complete zun, a wide-mouth drinking vessel that was typically cylindrical; this one is square, making it unique among the many exquisite bronzes recovered from Sanxingdui. Its shoulders are adorned with the heads of birds and animals. Another was made in a dragon shape and is unique among known bronze ware types from this period.

Organic remains were also found, including textiles, carbonized rice and seeds. There were fragments of two different kinds of silk: one a large quantity found in the ash layer of the sacrificial pit, so a direct offering that bundles of the highly-prized fabric were ritually burned in the sacrifice, the other found wrapping one of the objects of bronze ware.

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Small knight-snail-goat is medieval treasure

Monday, March 22nd, 2021

A silver-gilt praying knight emerging from a snail shell onto a non-equine quadruped, likely a goat, is one of the stand-out pieces of this year’s British Museum annual treasure report on Portable Antiquities Scheme finds. The object is less than an inch long, has flat back and a short rivet which indicates it was mounted to something thin and rigid like a leather belt. It is solid silver and its shaped and molded front is gilded with some wear on the top of the man’s head on the center of the shell.

It was unearthed by a metal detectorist in a field near Pontefract last September. The mount dates between 1200 and 1350, a time when scenes of knights and snails had a burst of popularity in the art of France, Flanders and England. The motif of a knight in combat against a snail and its many variants were common in the margins of illuminated manuscripts from Arthurian tales to psalters. They weren’t references to anything specific in the text, but rather  satirical references to cowardice in a monde renversé (world upside down) style; ie, the little, weak, slow snail treated as a valiant, sometimes even victorious chivalric opponent.

Knights, mounted and on foot, armed to the teeth with swords, lances and bows, charge a snail that faces them with antennae extended. Sometimes a woman begs the knight not to take this terrible risk. Sometimes the knight is on his knees in capitulation before his snail foe. Other variants merge animals and men or feature hybrid animals or animal combatants in place of the knights. The chimeric imagery often evoked snail shell shapes, as in the curled tail of a serpent. The knight-snail-goat has that same elision, where the spirals of the shell are placed where the curled horns of a ram would be.

The Aspremont Psalter-Hours, now in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia features a marginal illustration of a knight at arms emerging from a snail shell mounted on the back of a dog. The pose and position of the shell over the animal is comparable to the recently-discovered mount, although the knight in the mount has his hands clasped in prayer, not wielding shield and lance. His Norman style helmet is his only armament.

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