Crossbow and cranequin

Switzerland, c. 1550–1590.

Iron, steel, bone, hemp rope.

77,5 cm x 84,0 cm x 17,0 cm.

Crossbows were used as battle and hunting weapons from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. It says something about the deadly nature of crossbows that an eleventh-century papal bull forbade their use in battles between Christian troops. The crossbow belonging to the collection is very high in quality and was probably a noble officer’s hunting weapon. The stock has a bone covering and its flanks are adorned with illustrations of troops in battle, hunting knights, fishermen on tarns, pastoral scenes with houses and castles, and werewolves. At the end of the bow there is a catch, where the short, sharp-pointed arrow was placed.