Plate showing Samson bre...

Forge work


Plate showing Samson breaking the lion's jaw

16th century
Brass embossed, engraved and struck
4 x Ø36 cm
Provenance unknown
MEV 691

This piece is part of the mass-production of German late-Gothic 'dinanderies', now attributed primarily to Nuremberg. This piece has three borders struck and engraved surrounding Samson breaking the lion's jaw (Judges, 14:5), one of the most common themes. Indeed, mediaeval theology had established Samson as the forerunner of Christ, and a parallel had been constructed between the death of the lion and the Son vanquishing Satan and opening the gates of hell. Considering that the most habitual use for these plates was for collecting alms, the invocation of Christ's, and therefore the Church's, power to redeem, was very clearly linked to the salvation deriving from financial help. It was a theme valued equally in Catholic and Protestant areas, the reason for their huge circulation.

18 Leather
19 Gold, Silver and Metalworking Arts
20 Forge Work
21 Ceramics
22 Study Galleries