An exposé of the objects preserved from King Karl XI's tournament in 1672
Twelve musicians went in front of the King, heralding his arrival.
Six of the musicians played a roman horn, a buccina or a cornu, with dragon's heads and vibrating tongues.
Two of the instruments are still kept at the Royal Armoury.
The three insignias carried at the carousel are kept in storage and have not been photographed recently. This old photograph shows them at a display over fifty years ago.
Karl XI rode into "combat" under the name of "Equitis Gloriae", the knight of Glory. His motto was "Only the virtuous are happy and glorious". The enemy's, the Turk's, motto was "Force before law".
As a sign of King Karl's might and power several guardsmen surrounded him. Some carried fasces, symbolical polearms carved to look like bundles of sticks with an axe in the middle.
One of the fasces survived into the 21st Century.
As might be expected, the entire dress worn by the King is kept in the Royal Armoury.
The King's sword. In the engraving it is carried in front of the King.
The breast plate is lacking some of its original decoration, but the gilt brass is still shining.
The back part of the cuirass is a bit worn by time. Some of the brass scales are missing. If they have fallen off by themselves or if they were taken away as souvenirs is anyone's guess.
The tunic is rather the worse for wear. Several attempts to better the tunic along the centuries are visible. Originally it would have been red, but red dye fades quickly if exposed to light.
The protective skirt of metal scales is also lacking a few parts.
Two leonine masks of pressed and gilt brass covered the King's shoulders.
All the colour is gone from the King's boots. Although they were supposed to look Roman, they were quite modern in design.
Sometimes it is diffucult to imagine the splendour of the procession when we first look at the engraving...
...and then look at the object as it is today.
National Historical Museums
Text: G. Sandell
Photo: H. Bonnevier.
For further reading: Rangström, Lena. (Ed.) 1992. Riddarlek och tornerspel. (With English and German summaries.)