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Das Zeremonienschwert

vor 1220, 3. Viertel 14. Jahrhundert (Knauf)



Das Zeremonienschwert

The Ceremonial Sword belongs to the set of vestments used for the coronation of Frederick II as Holy Roman emperor in 1220. Closely related to the sword with regards to technique and style is the bonnet-like crown (now in the Treasury of Palermo Cathedral), which served as a burial object placed in the grave of the emperor's wife, Constance. The term "ceremonial sword" probably stems from the fact that since the 15th century it had been used by the newly-crowned ruler to carry out the accolade of knighthood. Like the most important parts of the precious coronation vestments, the Ceremonial Sword was made by the royal workshop at the court of Palermo. The workmen there were above all famous for their fine textiles, which were considered even more important than their goldsmith's work. This also explains the special technique used for the sword's scabbard: gold was applied to a linen ground, which at the same time also helped to reduce the weight. The double rows of pearls framing the rhombic enamel plates in a manner typical of clothing further strengthen the impression of fabric. Also characteristic of Palermo is the small vermicular filigree pattern that occupies the triangular spaces while the champlevé technique of the enamel plates is in keeping with Byzantine models. The imperial eagles on two of these plates are among the first manifestations of this heraldic motif from the Hohenstaufen period. By the way, no one but the king was allowed to enter the "house of God" with a sword. The sword of the king was considered a righteous weapon, ordained for the protection of the Church, and thus the only exception to the rule.

Location: Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien Raum 11

Object data

Object Name



Palermo; Prag (Knauf)


vor 1220, 3. Viertel 14. Jahrhundert (Knauf)


Schwert: Klinge: Stahl, Griff u. Parierstange: Holz, Goldplatten, Email, Filigran; Schwertknauf: Silber, vergoldet; Schwertscheide: Holz, Pergament, Leinenhülle, Goldplatten, Email, Würmchenfiligran, Perlen, Rubine


Schwert: L. 108,5 cm

Scheide: L. 92,5 cm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Weltliche Schatzkammer

Inv. No.

Schatzkammer, WS XIII 16

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