Monday, October 5, 2020

Inside and Outside the Cathedral in Antwerp, Part 1 of 3

We are now winding down our review of, well, not all, but certainly a lot of the heraldry to be found in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, Belgium.

As a part of that, we're going to be looking at examples of three coats of arms (besides the city of Antwerp!) that I found occurring both inside the Cathedral and outside of it.

First, on my way to the Cathedral, I noticed a coat of arms near the peak of this building, just below a golden statue:

Yeah, I know, it's not that easy to see from here. Fortunately for me and you, I have a telephoto lens on my camera.

As you can more clearly see here, it consists of a field, two arrows crossed in saltire (points down, the usual default for arrows), and a cross overall. But, alas, no tinctures. And, of course, no identification.

Fortunately, inside the Cathedral, on the side of one of the bays, we find ...

... a color version of these same arms. Here's a close-up:

Sharing this bay with the arms of two other guilds (the Old Handbow or Longbow Guild, Gules a cross of Jerusalem or) and another possibly personal coat of arms (Argent a fess between three millrinds sable), on the right we have the arms of the Yonge Handbooggilde (Young Handbow or Longbow Guild): Gules, two arrows in saltire or barbed argent overall a cross or.

In the early 14th century, archers guilds were established in cities across Flanders and Brabant. These associations would regularly organize festivals. Archery contests provided not only useful practice for guild members, but also entertainment. Such events would invariably conclude with a feast where flutists, drummers and minstrels played music, rhetoricians performed plays written for the occasion, and jesters provided general entertainment. One such Festival of the Archers was organized by Antwerp's four archers guilds: the ‘old’ and the ‘ young’ Arbalest and the ‘old’ and the ‘young’ Longbow.

I find myself somewhat attracted to the artistic conceit of hanging all three shields by their giges from a horizontal pole, don't you?

Anyway, I thought this was a good example of how you can find heraldry here and there, outside and inside, and match them up to learn not only their colors but to identify them.

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