Photo: Tim Wengelaar©


Anonymous, ca. 1395
St Walburga's Church, Zutphen

Unicorns, deer, hunters, contra dancers and courting couples. They are part of an intriguing spectacle of black shadow figures on the lowest section of the late-fourteenth-century chandelier in St Walburga’s Church. The succession of courtly scenes depicts a variety of aristocratic activities, such as deer hunting – which can also be seen as an allegorical allusion to courtship. The same applies to the many unicorns depicted on the friezes, which are also being hunted. These mythological animals could only be captured by a virgin in whose lap the unicorn lays its head. From a Christian point of view, this could also refer to Christ, who was born from the virgin womb of Mary. The medieval ironwork is one of only six so-called Jerusalem chandeliers that have been preserved in Europe. With its high tiara shape and the courtly scenes depicted all around it, the chandelier in Zutphen occupies a unique position within this small group.

Ingmar Reesing, Curator, Museum Gouda

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