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Stove tile with allegorical scenes of a hare hunt

Unknown16th Century

National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
Vilnius, Lithuania

The mid-16th-century cornice stove tile with an allegorical scene of a hare hunt was found by archaeologists whilst investigating the cellars of the Vilnius Lower Castle's Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. The stove tile is coated in white, yellow and green glazes.
This stove tile is one of a series of cornice tiles depicting the “World in Reverse”, or Mundus inversus. On it we see allegorical scenes of a hare hunt: on the left are two hares standing on their hind legs with a bow, ready to fire an arrow and a spear, and two hunting dogs attacking these hares; on the right there is a dog being boiled in a large three-legged pot, while two hares are shown dragging another hunting dog into this pot. Other stove tiles from this series show the following narratives: a hunter blowing his horn with dogs, hares bearing weapons and dogs, a hare using a pair of bellows and a rooster stealing a fox, and hares dragging at a dog tied to a pot. The origin of these mundus inversus images goes back to the times of Antiquity. These themes were very popular in Western Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries as well.
It is believed that the matrices for these stove tiles were created based on an engraving by the Dutch artist Israhel van Meckenem, dating to the second half of the 15th – early 16th centuries. The furnace on which these tiles were used had the shield of the Sforza coat of arms on the corner stove tile, thus its construction in the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania can be associated with Bona Sforza.

Details

  • Title: Stove tile with allegorical scenes of a hare hunt
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 16th Century
  • Location Created: The territory of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in the Vilnius Lower Castle
  • Physical Dimensions: 17,3 x 25,7 cm
  • Type: Stove tile
  • Rights: National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
  • Medium: Fired Cay, a Polychromatic Glaze Coating

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