ENAMELLED HERALDIC HORSE-HARNESS PENDANT, CIRCA 14TH CENTURY.

ENAMELLED HERALDIC HORSE-HARNESS PENDANT, CIRCA 14TH CENTURY.

150.00

A cast copper-alloy horse harness pendant, in the form of a ‘heater’ shield, circa 14th century in date. The face of the pendant is decorated with a heraldic device of a peacock standing left, its head and body picked out in white Champlevé enamel, and the tail a deep red. The surface was originally gilded, with a small amount still extant. Peacocks were considered a symbol of immortality since the Classical period, as it was widely believed that their flesh didn't rot. During the Medieval period Christianity associated the bird with the Resurrection. This pendant could have decorated the harness of a medieval destrier, or perhaps a ecclesiastical official’s horse. Contemporary manuscript illustrations show horses decorated with many of these pendants, suspended in series to spectacular visual effect. A passage from the prologue of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales describes the sound they made:

"His bridle, when he rode, a man might hear

Jingling in a whistling wind as clear,

Aye, and as loud as does the chapel bell

Where my lord Monk was Prior of the cell."

Dimensions: 46 mm x 27 mm.

Reference: Benet's Artefacts of England and the United Kingdom, Third Edition: M08-0316.

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