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Coat of arms - Shield of arms

Shield of arms

  • Object:

    Coat of arms

  • Place of origin:

    Venice (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1580-1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Istrian stone

  • Credit Line:

    Cavendish Bentinck Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 50a, The Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery, case WS

The use of coats of arms (stemmi in Italian) emerged in the 12th century as a way of identifying armoured knights in combat.The practice was then adopted by the nobility and by banking and merchant families. They placed them on the outside of buildings and on tombs as identifiers or signs of allegiance. Similar stemmi also appeared on livery and small-scale objects.

Physical description

Coat of arms in istrian stone. The shield of arms resides within a scrolled frame, having terminal spinx figures on either side, and being surmounted by a mask. The central shield carries two crossed lions paws (lion's jambs erased in saltire) betwen a frontally disposed lion's head (face in chief) and a bird's leg (erased and erect in base). An inscription reads INGENIVM SVPERAT VIRES.

Place of Origin

Venice (probably, made)


1580-1600 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Istrian stone

Marks and inscriptions

Genius overcomes force


Height: 90 cm, Width: 62.2 cm, Depth: 14.4 cm, Weight: 80 kg

Historical context note

The lion's head above crossed paws was identified as the arms of the Raspi family in the seventeenth century in Vincenzo Coronelli's Blasone Veneto.

Descriptive line

Coat of arms, relief, Italy, early 17th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

List of Objects in the Art Division South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1892. Arranged according to the dates of acquisition, with appendix and indices. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1893. pp. 228


Istrian stone



Subjects depicted

Lion; Harpie; Shields (motifs)


Sculpture Collection

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