The Cloisters Armorial

These pictures were taken at The Cloisters Museum, the (other) medieval wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Originally I intended the project as a catalogue of all the heraldry at the Cloisters for purposes of art history research, but I think the page serves better as a primer on heraldic display. This is not a comprehensive catalog of all heraldry found at the Cloisters, but the variety of ways that heraldry is put on "stuff" is fascinating.

Heraldry, defined: Heraldry is conventionally defined as personal insignia that are hereditary. However, as heraldry became popular throught Europe, heraldic motifs also became popular and weren't always representative of a particular person. I have recorded here anything that looked heraldic, the "stuff you find on shields." While most of the heraldry here probably belonged to a particular person, it is possible that some of the arms seen here may be purely decorative.

A note about color: Shooting in low light, without a flash, and sometimes behind glass proved to be quite a challenge. Many of the images are digitally color-corrected when I felt enhanced color contrast would allow for easier viewing. Do not assume colors are "true" when examining tinctures.

Click on a small picture to get the larger image.

Stone Textiles
Stained Glass       Metal Tableware
Wood Ceramics
France, late 13th or early 14th century. Arms of 13th century abbots.

Spain 1300-1350, Ermengol X. From sarcophagi of man with dog at feet.

Spain mid 14th century. Details of sarcophagi. These are photos of the side of the sarcophagi, his headpiece, the trim on his tunic, and the decoration on his pillow.

Spain, mid 15th century . From a stone altar.

Provenance & date not posted. Stone doorway.

Provenance not posted, 12th century. Stone window frame.

Provenance & date not posted. Stone casket.

French, late 15th century. Marble column capitals.

German, 1518. Stained glass. Note the very Germanic multi-crest in the last picture.

German mid 1400's. Stained glass. The sigils are probably German Hausmarken.

German early-mid 1500's. Stained glass roundels with heraldy. The sigils are probably German Hausmarken.

Flanders/Ghent, 1505-1506. Stained glass.

German, 14th century. A coffer.

England, 1270. An alb. Additional photos of this piece can be found here (approx. 2/3 down the page).

Spain, 1430. A cope (cloak).
Additional photos of this piece can be found here (approx. 1/2 down the page).

German, late 14th century. Cross-stitch altar frontal.
Additional photos of this piece can be found here (approx. 1/3 down the page).

Low Countries, ca. 1400. Tapestry.

Netherlands, late 15th century. Tapestry for English partrons. The ermine crosses are actually a faded "Gules, four lozenges ermine".

Two drinking vessels.
Pictures 1 and 2: Spain, early 15th century.
Pictures 3 and 4: Germany, mid-15th century, Germany. Possibly the arms of the mayor of Inglostment.

More tablewear.
Pictures 1 and 2: 1325-1350, Germany or Bohemia, possibly Jewish. Silver cup or bowl.
Pictures 3 and 4: German/Lowlands, mid 14th century. Silver chalice.

Spain, mid-late 1400's. Dishes.

Spanish, 1430's. Dishes.
Picture 1: Platter from Navarre.
Pictures 2 and 3: Bowl with the arms of the Dazzi family of Florence

Photos taken by Sabine Berard in December 2006. "Putting my nose to the glass so you don't have to."
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