A crossbow with lavish bone inlays by Johann Bensheimer the Elder, Dresden, late 17th century
Antique Arms and Armour from all over the world | A82aw | Live auction | 559 Lots
Hammer price € 12,000Show related lots
Heavy, tapering steel prod, a wheel mark with a sun burst stamped onto the inside on the right. Gilt cord anchors, green woollen pompoms, the green plait and braided hemp bowstring in original condition. The slender wooden tiller entirely covered in bone inlays, all surfaces lavishly engraved with tendrils and hunting scenes with horsemen, bears, a stag, a hare, a bird, dragons, set in landscapes with castles. Inlays of greyish-brown horn on both sides at the end of the tiller, bone butt cap. The manufacturer's signature "J. B. Senior f." (Johann Bensheimer Senior fecit) on the underside, near the nut. The nut made of antler, moving on the original cord pivot, above which a nut band of green cloth, multi-axle lock, horn bolt channel. The curved piece on the underside stamped with a double cross pattée and the year "1569". Small old repairs, cracks, the bolt bridge and trigger guard are new replacements. Length (incl. ring) 69 cm, width of the bow 69 cm.
Johann Bensheimer the Elder (1st half of the 17th century – circa 1710) was a crossbow maker and engraver at the court of Johann Georg II, Elector of Saxony. His son of the same name can be documented in the service of the electors of Saxony and the Polish kings until 1747. See H. Richter, Die Kunst der Armbrustmacher in Dresden, pp. 16, 17. Two light crossbows signed by the same manufacturer can be found in the armoury in Dresden and in the art collections of Veste Coburg.
Bensheimer the Elder was long active in Gdansk, before returning to his home town of Dresden in the 1670s. He may have used older components from his reserves to make this crossbow.
A fabulous crossbow of "Rüstung" type, produced by a crossbow maker of the court of Saxony.
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