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Author Topic:   Re: Large Munich Crucifix
eclesiast-sil

Posts: 3
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 11-28-2005 07:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eclesiast-sil     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-0800]

Hello,

I recently purchased what appears to be a very old and heavy silver crucifix with a mark that I cannot find...It is of a hooded figure (head facing to it's right) in a long gown with long sleeves, within a shield shape and it appears to be holding something in it's right hand. There are no numbers. The Christ figure is attached with hand-made screws and bolts. The piece is completely hand-made and has finials at all 4 ends resembling a 17th or 18th c. design.

Does anyone have any ideas about the mark?

Appreciate any information.

Thanks !!!

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 11-28-2005 08:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello and welcome to the forum.

Without a photo it difficult to be sure, but the mark sounds like the city mark for Munich in use from the 17th century to 1888 when the new marks for a unified Germany were introduced. Since date numbers were added from the middle of the 18th century, your piece may be earlier. From what I have seen on server visits to Germany and Austria, it does sound Baroque. Is there a halo around the head of the figure? What is the shape of the shield in which the figure is set?

Better yet, can you post a photo?

Tom

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eclesiast-sil

Posts: 3
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 11-28-2005 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eclesiast-sil     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Tom,

Thanks for your response.

There is no halo on the figure. Just the hood and long butterfly like sleeves. The shield it is in, is flat across the top and the two sides curve in to connect at the bottom...

I am ignorant as to how to post photos

Thanks,
Peter.

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 11-28-2005 10:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ok, the halo could be hood. The figure you describe matches that of Munich for the first half of the 18th century, but the shield or punch does not match the shapes given in Tardy. We really need that photo. I am still betting Munich late 17th to mid 18th c.

Tom

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Kimo

Posts: 1597
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-29-2005 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a hotlink under the big green box at the top of each page here that reads,
"How to Post Photos" If you click on that it will take you through the learning process so that you will be able to post pictures which will then permit people to here to give you much more definitive answers, and it will allow us to share in your admiration for your crucifix.

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blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 11-29-2005 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The absence of year numbers in the Munich mark does not necessarily indicate a pre-mid 18th century origin. In the 19th century, until the closure of the Munich guild in 1868, there was in use a special mark – the “Führerpunze” (“chief’s mark”, more or less) – which bore no year numbers.

To understand its use, it is necessary to know a little bit about the hierarchy of the Munich guild. The guild had four assayers working simultaneously: a primary and secondary assayer each for gold and silver. These assayers were elected annually from the guild’s ranks and were, therefore, practicing smiths themselves. Since it would hardly do for an assayer to test his own wares, whenever the primary assayer’s work was submitted to the guild, it was tested by the secondary assayer and stamped with the Führerpunze to indicate that the primary assayer, who was also the maker (and whose mark did contain the year numbers), was not responsible for its guaranty. Pictured here is the Munich Führerpunze for 1836-1848, which pretty well matches your description:


(Coincidentally, this was the last Führerpunze; its use seems to have been abandoned around 1848.)

The year of manufacture then, can generally be determined by the maker’s mark on these items, since it would be one of the years that the maker served as primary assayer. You do not mention a maker’s mark, however, which is not at all uncommon, I have found, for ecclesiastical wares. Conversely, if the Führerpunze (if it is indeed that; tmockait’s observation about mid-18th century & earlier Munich marks is correct) can be positively identified, then the maker can be narrowed down to the assayers who were working in that time frame.

Is there a maker’s mark? As mentioned, a photo would be enormously helpful, both of the marks and the crucifix. (Is the cross itself silver or just the corpus? Are they both marked?) Dating devotional items can be notoriously tricky regarding both style & construction. They were understandably less subject to the aesthetic faddishness that ruled domestic wares, giving far broader time frames for the style, and were sometimes made to be displayed with older, existing items and/or to be a repair or addition to such items, resulting in misleading anachronistic “hand-made” attachments such as you describe.

More, please! It sounds like a beautiful piece!

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 11-29-2005 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
... And we see yet another we reason we are glad Blacksotne has returned. As I was reading his post, a thought occurred to me. If you can do it without damaging the crucifix, try removing the Christ figure to see if it bears any marks and if there are any marks behind it on the cross.

Regards,
Tom

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eclesiast-sil

Posts: 3
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 11-29-2005 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eclesiast-sil     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello All,

Many thanks for all the good advice...

I have tried repeatedly to download photos (I am a bit computer challenged) to no avail...

The Fuhrerpunze posted is correct with the exception of something rather large in the figures right hand and the figure is somewhat cruder than the posted punze.

The cross measures roughly 9 1/2" X 7 1/2" and weighs quite a bit. The cross itself is composed of one vertical bar of silver with two side pieces soldered to it on the back...the process is reversed on the front. There are no additional marks on either the Corpus or behind it...The corpus is held with screws and nuts that are hand made...

Much of the ecclesiastic silver from the 17th-19th centuries I have in my collection is unmarked.

The piece has remains of gilding viewable under a jewelers loupe (in crevasses and behind the corpus). It appears that at some point it was polished off. The Christ figure is hand chased and that has a bit of wear as well. Someone long ago scratched INRI at the apex of the cross and that has been all but polished out. The top part of the cross is very short, as was common in the late 17th c and the Corpus is in the style of the 17th c ...It is something of a mystery.

smile

Many, many thanks !!!
Peter.

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 11-29-2005 06:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I offered to help Peter with his photos and will explain via e-mail what I did so he can post photos himself form now on.

Tom

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blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 11-29-2005 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very nice. I can confirm that the mark is indeed the 19th century Munich Führerpunze in use after 1836. Before that - on both this and the regular mark with year numbers - the figure (a monk, or Mönch in German, punning the city's name München) was haloed, not hooded, and faced forward, not to the side.

The real question is to whether or not the mark was applied at manufacture or later. The style is, as you say, in keeping with the 17th century (though I think I find the corpus less convincing than you do). My gut reaction (and nothing more) tells me that mark is probably contemporaneous, and that your item is 2nd quarter, 19th C, probably from a traveling shrine or the like.

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Kimo

Posts: 1597
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 12-01-2005 12:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is always hard to tell, but to my eyes the christ figure seems out of proportion to the cross and that it might be a made up piece. The hand-scratched lettering adds to my thinking. While it is possible this may have been made this way, it may be that the silversmith who made the cross added a figure made by someone else, or perhaps the figure and lettering might have been added by someone at some point well after the cross was made?

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