14th century Floral Bands,  14th century projects,  Medieval Art,  Museum,  Museum Photos,  Museums - Germany,  Projects

14th century Floral Head Bands

14th century Floral Head Bands

As some of you might have noticed over the last years, I really love visiting museums. And even more than visiting museums I love to take pictures of the beautiful medieval things on display in museums.

Regardless if it is about medieval fabrics, medieval wood-work, medieval jewelry,… or medieval embroidery. You can take me to a museum and leave me alone in the medieval collection.

I will happily entertain myself by taking several photos of nearly every medieval thing on display. It is especially dangerous to leave me alone with a good 12th century, 13th century or 14th century collection. Some of my friends already found out that I & and my DSLR don’t get far in medieval collections. 😉

But back to the main topic:

“14th century floral head bands”.

I would like to start with a ‘heartily thank you’ to Sarah for her recent comment on my posting about the Running Stitch – thank you very much Sarah!

In this comment she mentioned floral head bands from the Codex Manesse. I suddenly thought – “hmmm, floral head bands based on the Codex Manesse?” And I was suddenly reminded on some lovely examples of floral head bands I “run into” last year. Therefore I started to dig through my museum pictures and voila! I found even more lovely pictures of floral head bands. 🙂

I hope that by sharing the following pictures and especially the detail pictures and in-depth information I can provide some new and additional inspiration for you and Sarah. Lets start with the exquisite fountain figure which already greeted you at the beginning of this posting. You might ask – what has this 14th century fountain figure to do with 14th century floral head bands? Well, let’s take a closer look:

Floral Head Band 3
“Sogenannter Hansel” – Nürnberg, about 1380

Well, it is not very obvious from the “normal” front view but this lovely 14th century fountain figure wears a lovely floral head band. Here a detail picture of the head with the floral head band for you:

Floral Head Band 3a
“Sogenannter Hansel” – Nürnberg, about 1380

Isn’t it lovely? I have to admit that I absolutely fell in love with it the first moment I saw it. The lovely small details on the band itself and the flowers… I think this head band could be easily done in leather by any leather worker, if you know one. I think this could be also done in fabric and with embroidery. I promise you, I will think about a possible realization of  it including fabric and embroidery…

This fountain figure is on display at the museum “Germanisches Nationalmuseum” in Nürnberg. Some interesting information for you about this lovely 14th century fountain figure provided by the museum:

Brunnenfigur (Fountain Figure)
Sogenannter Hansel (So called Hansel)

The so-called Hansel fountain is the oldest surviving example of a large-scale Nuremberg brass cast. Despite the casting imperfections found on the surface it is considered a remarkable technical accomplishment by local brass founders.

A padded doublet, tight hose and pointed shoes, low-slung chain belt and headdress are part of the garb of this elegant youth who has succumbed to worldly pleasures.
The figure is probably to be understood as a personification of secular music.

Originally the jet of water would have issued from the shawm. In the hospital courtyard it was a constant reminder to its inhabitants of the transitoriness of human life.

Germany, Nürnberg, about 1380

…and the next interesting floral head band I found:

Floral Head Band 4
Brunnenmaske eines Jünglings – Germany, Nürnberg, about 1400

…and I am glad to say that I also have a nice detail photo of this floral head band from a better point of view:

Floral Head Band 4a
Brunnenmaske eines Jünglings – Germany, Nürnberg, about 1400

This “Fountain Mask of a Youth” is also on display at the “Germanisches Nationalmuseum” and already at the very edge between 14th and 15th century. Here some further information from the museum about this piece:

Brunnenmaske eines Jünglings
Fountain Mask of a Youth

The mask is one of the oldest examples of an artistic brass casting in Nuremberg. The cast and the design testify to a high level of craftsmanship. The taut modeling, stylistic clarity and lively treatment of the hair are evidence of great artistic mastery.

The mask is thought to depict a young boy, because of the pronounced larynx visible in profile. The wreath of large rosettes around his head was the symbol of the unwedded.

Germany, Nürnberg, about 1400

Just for your information, if you run into the German word “Schappel” somewhere:
The German text of the museum refers to the floral head band with “the large rosettes” as “Schappel”. Btw. I find the information – that this shall be a symbol of the unwedded – very interesting.

…and after the young men we finally get to the ladies with floral head bands:

Floral Head Band 5
Mother of God – Germany, Passau, ca. 1300

This sculpture was placed at a position in the museum where I couldn’t get a better picture of the head band. This could be a circlet made from metal or a head band but it definitely looks like it has flowers on it. I can definitely tell that – after checking also some other pics – she is wearing her veil over her floral head band/circlet. Unfortunately this figure shows the “Mother of God” and therefore has to be used with care concerning reference for floral circlets or head bands.

Here more interesting information about it from the “Germanisches Nationalmuseum”:

Mother of God
Passau, ca. 1300

An elegant sway to the body, a composition of folds radiating from the hips and sensitive physiognomy are typical features of sculpture around 1300.

The gestures and tilt of the heads reflect in a subtle and novel way an intimate relationship between Mother and Child.

The sculpture last stood in the Ortenburg chapel of Passau Cathedral. Its shape suggests it was originally located on the central pillar of a double portal.

Germany, Passau, ca. 1300, Regensburg green sandstone, traces of old polychromy

…and here another floral head band I found – this time even not worn on the head:

Floral Head Band 2
“Death and Coronation of Saint Clare” – Convent of the Poor Clares Nuremberg or Bamberg, ca. 1360/1370 – Painting and gilding on oak

…and a closer picture for you:

Floral Head Band 2a
“Death and Coronation of Saint Clare” – Convent of the Poor Clares Nuremberg or Bamberg, ca. 1360/1370 – Painting and gilding on oak

This could be again a metal circlet with flowers or a floral head band – this time from the “Death and Coronation of Saint Clare” – ca. 1360/1370 – again on display at the “Germanisches Nationalmuseum”.

…and now again one of my favorites – I really love this period glass painting on display at the Museum Schnütgen in Cologne, Germany:

Floral Head Band 5
Saint Dorothea – Germany, Cologne, about 1360

I think this glass painting is beautiful – simple and beautiful.

And last but not least, I kept the most fun part for the end:

Floral Head Band 1
Tapestry with Games of Love – Germany, Mittelrhein, Heidelberg (?), about 1400 – linen, wool, metal threads, tapestry weaving

This is just a rather small section of the “Bildteppich mit Minnespielen” (Tapestry with Games of Love) but also at this tapestry I could find a floral head band. Here a more detailed picture:

Floral Head Band 1a
Tapestry with Games of Love – Germany, Mittelrhein, Heidelberg (?), about 1400 – linen, wool, metal threads, tapestry weaving

Well, this could represent also just a floral wreath but I like the idea that it could be a floral head band too – who knows for sure? 😉

Anyway, the “Tapestry with Games of Love” from about 1400 is very beautiful and also very funny. I think you will enjoy the information about it provided by the “Germanisches Nationalmuseum”:

Bildteppich mit Minnespielen
Tapestry with Games of Love

The tapestry with its wealth of figures brings together the motifs of medieval courtly poetry. In a spacious garden landscape couples are enjoying themselves playing games with a  deeper erotic meaning. Games of tag, thrusting, riding, tying up and intimate touching characterize the activities near the castle of love. The festive garments of the couples reflect the stylization of the cultures of courtly love. The queen of love is recognized by her crown.
The provenance of the tapestry is not known. A reference to the possible patron is seen in the coat of arms of Hans Diehl from Speyer on the top right edge. Diehl had good contacts to the prince electoral court in Heidelberg, and the court’s predilection for festivities may have been the reason for the commission for the tapestry.
It appears likely that the tapestry may have been produced in a Heidelberg workshop. The bourgeois adoption of the theme of courtly love reflects the social aspirations or the new ruling class

Germany, Mittelrhein, Heidelberg (?), about 1400 – linen, wool, metal threads, tapestry weaving

Floral Head Band 1

At the picture on the left (the same like above, just a little bit smaller) you can see the Quintana – one of the “games of love”.

According to the “Germanisches Nationalmuseum”Quintana. This game of love was influenced by medieval tournament training that later acquired erotic overtones. There the knight thrusts a lance into a dummy soldier. Here the man thrusts his leg at the woman’s leg. The loser is the one who falls to the ground.”

Unfortunately this was already my last picture of a possible floral head band but I think I put together a very nice selection of flowers for you. 😉

I hope you enjoyed this posting as much as I was having fun putting it together for you.

Best regards Racaire


  • Sarah Lynch

    Thank you very much for your posts. They are very helpful. It does look like the fountain piece could actually be leather. I think I would like to try making an embroidered piece and a leather one. So exciting! Great shots. You rock Racaire!

    • racaire

      I am very happy that you find my posting helpful and I am very looking forward to seeing your floral head bands 🙂