Read the introduction and summary of most essays in HP2 in English

‘Holy and Profane 2’
H.J.E. van Beuningen, A.M. Koldeweij, D. Kicken

Summary of essays
  1. Dory Kicken / State of research
  2. Jan van Herwaarden / Ende goede waerheit te bringen
  3. Johan Hendriks / Badges in context? Pilgrim badges from the Statenplein in Dordrecht, 1997-2000
  4. H.J.E. van Beuningen / Badges found in Westenschouwen
  5. H.J.E. van Beuningen / A medieval diptych from Aachen, found in Dordrecht
  6. Astrid Smeets & Tineke Oostendorp / Examination of the material and technique of the painting on a medieval diptych
  7. Katja Boertjes / Pilgrim ampullae found in the Low Countries: souvenirs with a long Christian pilgrim tradition?
  8. Jos Koldeweij / 'Tsente Thomaes te Cantelberghe'
  9. Elly van Loon-van de Moosdijk / Pilgrim badges on 'Dutch' bells
  10. Han Wustenhoff / Medallions in bases and on lids of late-medieval pewter vessels
  11. Casper Staal / Liturgical vestments and liturgical objects on pilgrim badges
  12. H.M. Zijlstra-Zweens / Armoured Saints
  13. M.A. Hall / Gaming board badges
  14. J.H. Winkelman / Bossy women, randy fools and hawking traders. Late-medieval erotic badges from the Low Countries
  15. Malcolm Jones / The sexual and the secular badges
  16. Kim Zweerink en Jos Koldeweij / Badges and Hieronymus Bosch
  17. Wim van Anrooij / Heraldic aspects of badges
  18. Hugo van der Velden / Charles the Bold on pilgrimage: pilgrim badges purchased by the Count of Charolais
  19. Arent Pol / Coin brooches, secular badges derived from coins


A.M. Koldeweij, H.J.E. van Beuningen, D. Kicken / p. 5-6.

Published in 1993, Heilig en Profaan documented an unprecedented variety of religious and secular badges. To mark its appearance, an exhibition was staged in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in the winter of 1993/1994. On show were 380 religious and secular badges, comprising a representative selection from the H.J.E. van Beuningen collection. Shortly before the exhibition closed, the symposium Heilig en Profaan was held, the results of which were published a year later.

International follow-ups led to the publication of the collection in the Musée de Cluny by Denis Bruna (1996) and its English counterpart by Brian Spencer, the 'grand old man' in the field of badges (1998). 
In recent decades the Netherlands has emerged as a veritable treasure-trove of medieval and post-medieval archaeological objects, including badges. Reason enough to publish a sequel to Heilig en Profaan focusing on badges in public and more general private collections; the number 1 has therefore been appended to the title of the book that appeared in 1993.

The principle

Due to the basic principle of Heilig en Profaan 1 ­ to publish highlights from a specific private collection ­ many interesting badges remained unpublished in 1993. This soon came to be seen as a serious deficiency ­ due, actually, to the size and representative character of H.J.E. van Beuningen's collection. Badges from the same findspots found their way into other collections, there were interesting parallels as well as strikingly different badges from other locations, archaeological offices housed pilgrim and secular badges whose context still had to be dated, and so forth.

Heilig en Profaan 1, henceforth referred to as HP1, had acquired the status of a work of reference: all the more reason to update it. The objects themselves are the main issue ­ not a specific collection, but historical material, regardless of who owns it. In this second part of Heilig en Profaan we have retained the original point of departure: late-medieval badges found in the Netherlands. We scrutinised all accessible collections, ranging from a single badge among other objects to monomaniac collections consisting of several hundred badges. We also took a fresh, critical look at the collection on which HP1 was based: a number of badges included back in 1993 make another appearance for a variety of reasons, such as the recognition of a fragment or comparison with other objects.

Moreover, since 1993 this collection has grown not only selectively but substantially too. For this second book we have selected only those badges which have something to add to the HP1 catalogue: badges which differ from or are more complete than those published in 1993. But more documentation has been going on in the meantime: the Stichting Middeleeuwse Religieuze en Profane Insignes (Foundation for medieval religious and secular badges) has set up a database geared to a quantitative approach ­ due caution should be observed here, however, for never has absolutely everything been preserved, found or registered.

The book in front of you is not a final, definitive result: analyses can be developed further and there are some flaws in the determination of the badges. HP2, like HP1, is a tool: research is ongoing, and the last word has certainly not yet been spoken regarding many cultural-historical details and many badges. Together, the two volumes of Heilig en Profaan provide as complete a survey as possible of badges found in the Netherlands. Heilig en Profaan 2 likewise consists of two parts: a section containing twenty articles focussing on different aspects, and the catalogue of religious and secular badges.

The catalogue section of HP2

The construction of the HP1 and HP2 catalogues is basically the same, despite a few important differences. In the first place HP2 complements its forerunner. This means that some major places of pilgrimage with many badge-variants are less well represented because fewer different badges have been discovered than was the case in HP1. Religious and secular badges were quite evenly balanced in HP1, due to the selection on which the published collection was based; now, because of the badges found in the Netherlands, the religious badges are somewhat in the majority.

The HP1 catalogue section listed 1036 late-medieval religious and secular badges, as opposed to the 1243 badges in this book from many public and private Dutch and Flemish collections. A few spectacular discoveries have increased the variation and quality of the survey; a number of fragments published in HP1 have been replaced by intact specimens; badges previously not or incorrectly named have since been identified, and numerous variants and deviant badges have turned up. Again, we start with the religious badges, followed by the secular brooches. In this latter category 96 coin-brooches have been singled out and separately catalogued by a distinguished expert, Arent Pol of the Royal Numismatic Collection. 32 coin-brooches from HP1 have been re-examined for the inclusion of this category in a standard catalogue.

Function was again the first criterion: brooches, coin-brooches, clasps and ampullae qualified for inclusion in the catalogue, but three-dimensional devotionalia and objects such as statuettes, crucifixes, bird-baths, 'tin soldiers; avant la lettre and suchlike did not. This accounts for the absence of many closely related objects such as miniature shrines and devotional figures (ill. 3) and of various kinds of cast strips of figures (devotional souvenirs such as the Three Kings from Cologne, or Mary from Boulogne-sur-Mer, but also used for secular purposes in every conceivable situation, ills. 1 and 2). Interestingly, several new types of brooches and clasps are included, a category hitherto somewhat neglected. Also new is the separate category of pilgrim ampullae. We have endeavoured to provide as complete an overview as possible of ampullae discovered in the Netherlands, even when it is still unclear what pilgrimages they came from; HP1 listed only a few specimens whose provenance could be ascertained.

The extent to which catalogues like these depend on a stroke of luck is illustrated by the fact that since 1993 three important Dutch findspots have yielded a large number of new, previously unknown badges: Westenschouwen (1994/95), 's-Hertogenbosch (1995/96) and Dordrecht (1997/2000). New types of badges have been discovered in other places too, usually by chance during earthworks for sewers or foundations. It must be said ­ without wishing to fault scholarly institutions ­ that many of these objects would have been lost had it not been for amateur archaeologists and metal detectors, who kept a watchful eye on excavation operations in old habitation centres. On the debet side, though, formerly fruitful findspots have for various reasons yielded practically nothing since HP1 appeared. The 124 badges from Nieuwlande and 19 from Reimerswaal published here were found before 1993 and are now in other public and private collections.

The articles in HP2

In both books we endeavoured to strike a happy balance between catalogue and text. Even so, there are differences in the latter category. Articles about religious badges were very much in the majority in HP1, Malcolm Jones' essay on erotic badges was an eye-opener, as was an article about parallels between badges and the margin decoration in a Roman-de-la-Rose manuscript. This time the text section is more evenly balanced and there is no strict grouping of the articles; historical boundaries are less rigorous too. Some of the articles nevertheless concentrate chiefly on religious badges, whether or not in the pilgrimage context (Van Herwaarden, Bruna, Boertjes, Koldeweij, Spencer, Van der Velden). Others focus on secular and in particular sexual badges (Jones, Winkelman).

Recent findspots with their specific finds and circumstances, dating problems and even politico-archaeological issues are also addressed (Hendriks, Van Beuningen). Still other articles go into the badges themselves in detail: discovery, findspot conditions, technical aspects, restoration (Van Beuningen, Smeets and Oostendorp). The incidence of badges elsewhere or other uses of them are discussed (Van Loon-van de Moosdijk, Poettgen, Wustenhoff). Finally, some of the articles examine certain categories or aspects of badges (Staal, Zijlstra-Zweens, Hall, Van Anrooij, Pol, Zweerink and Koldeweij). This all makes for differentiated reading, briefly summarized at the end of each article in either English or Dutch.

The publication of Heilig en Profaan 2 again coincides with an exhibition in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, a presentation quite different, though, from the one organised in 1993. This year's exhibition is part of the major Hieronymus Bosch event (1 September 1 ­ 11 November 2001). On display as an independent element of that event with its strong cultural-historical orientation are 450 of the badges described in HP1 and HP2. These badges belong to a visual repertory of late-medieval imagery and contribute to the explanation and interpretation of Hieronymus Bosch's paintings and drawings (see also the article by Zweerink and Koldeweij).

Running the entire gamut of the phenomenon of the late-medieval badge, the badges range from purely devotional to extremely pornographic. The official presentation of this book took place at the Heilig en Profaan 2 symposium held in the museum on September 3 2001.


1. Stand van onderzoek / Dory Kicken, p.7-22.

Summary - State of research

Since the presentation of Heilig en Profaan 1 - the book, exhibition and symposia - in Rotterdam's Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum (in the winter of 1993/94), a number of important publications have been devoted to the late medieval badge, and several exhibitions, seminars/symposions and congresses have been organized. This article presents a survey of the state of research into the late-medieval badge; occasional references to earlier publications place it in a historical perspective.
The past seven years have seen a number of significant developments, such as recent complexes of findings which have yielded a great deal of material - new material too. This has also prompted discussion about badges, whether they were found in an archaeological context or not, what this means for aspects such as dating, provenance and distribution of the material and, last but not least, the amateur detector's role in all this.
With regard to contemporaneous function and meaning a consensus has since been reached on an anthropological approach and the necessity of placing the badge in a broad cultural-historical perspective. As a visual carrier of information and an early propagator of images, the late-medieval badge is a unique source, and complementary research combining visual and written sources can sometimes lead to surprising insights.
Of vital importance for the future are the safe preservation and accessibility of the material in all its facets. Furthermore, continuity of research into badges and publications on the subject need to be monitored. Fortunately, there is a growing appreciation of the importance of electronic documentation systems.

2. Ende goede waerheite te bringen / Jan van Herwaarden, p.23-30.

Summary - Ende goede waerheit te bringen

A badge was not accepted as evidence that someone had actually gone on a pilgrimage; the homecomer had to produce certified proof in the form of a letter written and sealed at the destination of his pilgrimage. Thanks to the medieval practice - particularly prevalent in the Low Countries - of enforced pilgrimages, it is possible to establish to a certain extent whether people actually did depart on pilgrimages when they had been ordered to do so. By comparing dates we can also sometimes work out how much time people spent on the road. However clearly formulated a letter may seem, a person often had to comply with additional demands, notably the swearing of an oath, before resuming his place in society. If letters were lost, there had to be another means of proving that a pilgrimage had taken place. Witnesses' testimony was about the only way, although an extra-solemn oath could also suffice. Cheating was always possible and it was as well to be suspicious, as the last section of this article shows.

3. Insignes in context? Pelgrims-insignes van het Statenplein in Dordrecht, 1997-2000 / Johan Hendriks, p.37-53.

Summary - Badges in context? Pilgrim badges from the Statenplein in Dordrecht, 1997-2000.b>

Investigation of the Statenplein area in the city centre of Dordrecht (Netherlands) has contributed importantly to our knowledge of that town's topographical development. Major reconstruction was carried out in the last quarter of the fourteenth century, followed by the development of a completely new residential district. The operation involved the artificial elevation of Dordrecht's peaty hinterland. Some 6000 metal objects have been found in this fourteenth-century elevation, including 298 lead-tin badges and trinkets - and this is only 5% of the total findings. Even so, by European standards the Dordrecht findings have yielded an exceptional quantity of religious and secular badges. This is largely due to the systematic use of metal detectors and to agreements made with their users.

Nevertheless, the value of this systematic approach does not amount to much. Only four of the badges were found at original ground level; the rest came from the fourteenth-century elevation. No direct link can be established between the excavation site and the religiousness of the local inhabitants. The incidence of badges might also be due to imposed pilgrimages to Dordrecht or from trade with the Maas-Rhine area, a region which maintained close commercial contacts with Dordrecht in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and from which many badges came. A good 40% of the religious badges are connected with Mary. This may have something to do with a Marian devotion in Dordrecht that has not been investigated in depth as yet.

4. Insignevondsten uit Westenschouwen / H.J.E. van Beuningen, p.54-58.

Summary - Badges found in Westenschouwen.

In early 1994 a small area of the medieval port of Westenschouwen was washed away, giving searchers equipped with metal detectors an opportunity to locate metal objects among the remains of habitation. The results were surprising: no fewer than 1195 religious and secular badges - albeit mostly fragmentary - turned up. Among them were 49 types previously unknown in the Netherlands or different from those listed in Heilig en Profaan 2. All 1195 badges were entered in a database; the appended table provides a survey of numbers and variations.

A strikingly large number of badges found in Westenschouwen come from a number of places of pilgrimage. Among them are Gerardsbergen (58 Adrian badges) and Ninove (43 Cornelius badges). 37 badges from Wilsnack were also found. In addition there were numerous secular pieces among the findings, including 180 brooches, 68 coin-pins, 69 badges of an erotic nature and 52 representing birds.

The discovery of no fewer than 20 badges of Our Lady of Amersfoort was surprising. A figure of Mary found in 1444 owed its great popularity to miraculous rescues of people in danger of drowning and sailors in dire straits who had appealed to Our Lady of Amersfoort for help. A surviving book of miracles describes such rescues. Areas of the old port had washed away before World War Two as well, but that was before the advent of metal detectors.

5. Een middeleeuws diptiekje uit Aken, gevonden in Dordrecht / H.J.E. van Beuningen, p. 59-66.

Summary - A medieval diptych from Aachen, found in Dordrecht.

Metal-detector examination of soil from Dordrecht yielded a lead-tin diptych which unfolds to show - on two separate lead-tin plates - a Virgin and Child on the left, flanked by Saints Catherine and Barbara, and Christ Salvator on the right, standing between Cornelius and Anthony. Pressed into small triangular plates of lead-tin in the roof-shaped top are representations of the Holy Tunic (left) and the True Face of Christ (right). The original glazing has been lost due to oxidation and breakage. An oxidized piece of brown glass has survived on the right wing; a dark coating on the back probably produced a mirror effect. The roof-shaped top section inside the diptych contains representations of the Vera Icon (left) and the Tunic (right). Both frames - cast in lead-tin and of similar design - are inscribed with the text AVE MARIA GRACIA PLENA DO(MIN)I. Four angels on the ridge-pieces respectively flank Mary with her Child and the crucified Christ. Four pinnacles on the roof are fitted with eyelets, enabling the diptych to be worn as well set up.

6. Materiaal-technisch onderzoek naar de schildering uit een middeleeuws diptiek / Astrid Smeets & Tineke Oostendorp, p. 67-78

Summary - Examination of the material and technique of the painting on a medieval diptych.

This unique mirror-badge from the Van Beuningen collection consists of a double-sided decorated metal diptych which opens to reveal a painting and a mirror. The painting (4.6 x 7 cm) is of a black-robed angel, recognizable as such by its wings and aureole. The angel draws the beholder's attention to a white robe, probably a reference to Mary's Tunic. The relic is kept in Aachen, where it was displayed to pilgrims. It is thus very likely that the diptych was made in Aachen.
The picture is painted on an extremely fragile carrier. Sandwiched between the top and bottom layers - a fine, papery material - is a black, humus-like substance. The picture is painted on the fine, smooth top layer of paper. The various layers of this carrier consist of both organic and anorganic material. The organic material can be divided into vegetable matter - such as fibres, leaves, stalks, humus, wood and budding vegetation - and animal matter such as shell, bone and hair. The pigments - from both the paint and the papery carrier - may be classified as anorganic material, as can minerals like sand and quartz.

7. Pelgrimsampullen uit Nederlandse en Belgische bodemvondsten. Souvenirs met een eeuwenoude traditie? / Katja Boertjes, p. 79-87.

Summary - Pilgrim ampullae found in the Low Countries: souvenirs with a long Christian pilgrim tradition?

Pilgrim ampullae form a remarkable category amongst the numerous pilgrim souvenirs. They were purchased by pilgrims from a variety of pilgrimage shrines. Pinned on clothing or worn on a cord around the neck, they were taken home by pilgrims. Like badges, these containers were generally a souvenir or proof of the extremely arduous journey which the pilgrim had undertaken. On his way home they also served to identify the pilgrim, and functioned as amulets. The ampulla was more than just a badge, though. Its value was enhanced by its contents, which always came directly from the shrine venerated by the pilgrim. Its value was that of a relic, invested with protective and healing powers. Whereas the badge had 'only' been in contact with the place of pilgrimage, the ampulla actually contained a tangible souvenir of the spot.

In the Low Countries several ampullae from the High and Late Middel Ages have been excavated. Many of them cannot be attributed with certainty to a specific location, but others give an indication of their origin by their shapes and the depictions or inscriptions on them. The identified examples all originate from regions of what is now modern Europe: England, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. The practice of taking home an ampulla as a pilgrim souvenir was nevertheless not a new invention of the High Middle Ages. In early Christian times pilgrims were already acquiring such receptacles from shrines. During this period the practice was even more popular than in the later Middle Ages and extended over Egypt, Asia Minor, the Holy Land and the regions of modern Europe. Up to now none of these Early Christian ampullae have been found in the Netherlands or Belgium.

8. ‘Tsente Thomaes te Cantelberghe’. Pelgrimstochten vanuit de Nederlanden naar Canterbury: teruggevonden insignes en berichten uit andere bron / Jos Koldeweij, p. 88-104.

Summary - 'Tsente Thomaes te Cantelberghe'. Pilgrimages from the Netherlands to Canterbury: recovered badges and reports from another source.

In many places in the Low Countries pilgrims' ampullae and Thomas Becket badges from Canterbury dating from the late twelfth to the second half of the sixteenth century have been unearthed. The ampullae contained Thomas's blood diluted with water; like the badges they bore his likeness, a representation of his murder or of his relics. Thomas badges were also illustrated in late-fifteenth-century Flemish manuscripts.

Philips van de Elzas (1142-1191), count of Flanders, was one of the earliest identified pilgrims to travel to Thomas's tomb: he is all the more remarkable for having held Thomas in high regard and supporting him while he was alive, and for his subsequent veneration of the martyred saint. One of Thomas's earliest miracles was the wondrous rescue of a few Dutch peasants and their cattle from a flood and shipwreck. In the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400), pilgrims on their way to Canterbury make various references to Flanders, a region known for its trading routes and its involvement in wars. In a curious tale about Thomas's murder, his four assassins are said to have ended their days as devout hermits in the shadow of the cathedral at Mechelen. Numerous late-medieval sources report devotional journeys and disciplinary pilgrimages from the Netherlands to Thomas Becket's shrine. Thomas was venerated in all walks of life: not only humble believers journeyed to Canterbury; so did the dukes of Burgundy and, shortly before Henry VIII destroyed Thomas's bones in 1536, the scholar Desiderius Erasmus.

9. Pelgrimsinsignes op ‘Nederlandse’ klokken / Elly van Loon-van de Moosdijk, p. 112-127.

Summary - Pilgrim badges on 'Dutch' bells.

Pilgrim badges are found chiefly in German and Scandinavian regions, but also on bells cast by bell-founders in and from the former Low Countries. Because many bells were miscast or requisitioned while the country was under French rule and during the two world wars, little is known about badges on bells in the Netherlands. Although this form of decoration was presumably employed by bell-founders from regions where the badge was a familiar phenomenon, craftsmen who mastered the technique of applying decorations to a bell's 'cope' or wall, it is becoming increasingly apparent that customers, for various reasons, ordered motifs associated with pilgrimages. It is now evident that the choice of decoration was not solely the bell-founder's: place, time and circumstances are important factors, especially in religious decorative forms. Usually the craftsman - and that was the bell-founder - will have made suggestions and the customer will have had a strong say in the matter - and not only with regard to the inscriptions and the bell's name. It is particularly interesting to note that members of the Waghevens family of bell-founders in Mechelen, who as far as we know did not decorate their bells, or only sparsely, did in fact begin to do so in the first half of the sixteenth century. And so it came to pass that pilgrim badges representing Leonard or other saints, even when placed in or under a decorative Renaissance border, brought happiness and prosperity for centuries to come.

10. Bodem- en dekselmedaillons in laatmiddeleeuwse tinnen voorwerpen / Han Wustenhoff, p. 137-144.

Summary - Medallions in bases and on lids of late-medieval pewter vessels.

Although - given the size of the examined collections and the relevant objects they contain - the number of medallions found in bases and on lids of pewter vessels is limited, they are not all that rare. Medallions are quite common on salts, but are much less frequent on ewers. Perhaps that is because salt was a relatively expensive commodity and salts were luxury articles. The investigation was not complete in view of the obvious impossibility of examining all the collections with examples of late-medieval pewter objects. However, the objects that were examined may be regarded as representative of what was once there.

The practice of applying medallions to pewter objects stemmed from a practical necessity: pewterers needed a round stopper to bung the hole at the bottom of their products. These stoppers were no longer necessary with the advent of horizontal moulds instead of vertical ones, and medallions dwindled from the middle of the sixteenth century on.

Medallions in bases and on lids had a chiefly decorative function, the rose medallions probably being the only ones intended to guarantee quality too. What badges and medallions have in common is the prophylactic function attributed to both. In my opinion there is no concrete evidence of a particular pilgrim badge's having been used or having stood model for a medallion; most of the religious representations on the medallions are too general and differentiated. A few representations on religious medallions - of the saints Servatius and Martin, for instance - are however associated with badge material, and a Calvary badge referring to Gottsbüren certainly has much in common with a lid-medallion on which a Crucifixion is depicted.

11. Liturgische kleding en liturgische voorwerpen op pelgrimstekens / Casper Staal, p. 145-160.

Summary - Liturgical vestments and liturgical objects on pilgrim badges.

The figures on pilgrim badges can be popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons and monks. They are usually depicted in their liturgical vestments. The author examines these badges in detail to find out what they actually represent. On the one hand it emerges that the makers tried to depict the subject's vestments as accurately as possible. But at the same time the representations tend somewhat towards obsolescence. Not everything has been perfectly understood, modernization is rare and time-hallowed examples are endlessly repeated. At a time when the conical chasuble worn from the twelfth to the thirteenth century had long been ousted by a late-Gothic model, conical chasubles were still frequently depicted. They were not mandatory, though. Saint Leonard, for example, is to be seen in a contemporary late-Gothic chasuble (HP1, fig. 277) (ill. 25).

Sometimes the figures are rendered quite sketchily. One gets a strong impression that the craftsmen who made the moulds for pilgrim badges were often less skilled than gold- and silversmiths who, as we know, cut dies for coins and stamps for seals.

12. Heiligen in het harnas / H.M. Zijlstra-Zweens, p. 161-172.

Summary - Armoured Saints.

In Gothic art the saints, with the exception of St. Mary, the Apostles and the Baptist, are usually decked out in what was in common use at the artists’ time. In art, as on the stage, costume and armour characterized the dramatis personae and were updated as fashions changed. As fire-arms grew more effective in the course of the fourteenth century, plate armour gradually came to replace the mail hauberk. Mail falls softly flowing like knitwear, whereas plate armour must be close-fitting and tightly strapped to be worn with reasonable comfort. So instead of the supple mail-clad knights of the crusades, tailored steel-clad silhouettes made their appearance. This development is closely mirrored in the badges of warrior saints like Adrian, Quirin and George and the secular badges of charging knights.

13. Gaming-board badges / M.A. Hall, p. 173-178.


The European archaeological record has revealed a sub-class of object that is currently unique to the Netherlands: gaming-board badges. There are four in total, one each from Reimerswaal and Rotterdam (HP1 1004, 1005) and two from Amsterdam (HP2 2008). All four badges are made from lead alloy and date to the late 14th to early 15th centuries. This essay offers an interpretation of the badges as depicting chessboards. It does so in the context of depictions of chess and other gaming boards in illuminated manuscripts and also considers the evidence of toy miniatures and misericords. The role of gaming within popular culture is also considered. The suggestion is made that the badges may be accurate depictions of chessboards for variants of the game no longer played. The possible symbolic value of the badges is also considered. The badges demonstrate the broader popularity of the game of chess, a game generally regarded as for the élite in society, and they indicate the desire by makers and wearers to satirise and simplify the game.

14. Bazige vrouwen, hitsige dwazen en leurende kooplieden. Over laatmiddeleeuwse erotische insignes uit de Nederlanden / J.H. Winkelman, p. 179-196.

Summary - Bossy women, randy fools and hawking traders. Late-medieval erotic badges from the Low Countries.

This article focuses on a number of late-medieval erotic badges from the Low Countries published in HP1 and HP2. They represent familiar 'types' with which we are acquainted from the literature of the period. We cite Middle Dutch (and to a lesser extent Middle High German) texts in our attempt to define a cultural-historical framework that might provide an explanation for the badges and their striking imagery. Special attention is paid to the Gruuthuse manuscript, in which the greatest contextual correspondences with the badges are to be found in terms of time (1400) and place (Bruges). Other texts, too, such as the Antwerp Liedboek and the rhetoricians' refrains, can help to elucidate these curious erotic badges. The methodical approach pursued here is based on the plausible assumption that literature and art share the same cultural-historical roots and that there is a constant interaction between the two media. This article is not confined to the fictional world of artistic expression. We also attempt to find an answer to the difficult question of how these badges actually functioned in the late Middle Ages. Who wore them during that period, and with what intention? Our explanation stresses the communicative aspect that characterized the wearing of badges. The circumstances in which secular badges were traded in practice are examined more closely in the context of a print by Hans Franck of 1516, which may perhaps provide information about an actual sales situation.

15. The sexual and the secular badges / Malcolm Jones, p. 196-206.


This esssay is principally concerned with exploring the significance of the explicitly sexual badges in the present corpus. The same metaphors for sexual intercourse identified in Heilig en Profaan 1 are re-presented here, together with several new ones. The present corpus also includes scenes of unequivocal male homosexual activity. While the apotropaic function of these badges is not doubted, it is here suggested for the first time that they might also have been believed to function in a magically covert manner to attract good sexual luck to the wearer. For all the Žclat of the sexual badges, however, those expressive of courtly love/amour courtois are not overlooked, including an interesting group which feature the Wild Man. Other non-sexual but secular badges are also considered.

16. Insignes en Jheroniumus Bosch / Kim Zweerink en Jos Koldeweij, p. 207-224.

Summary - Badges and Hieronymus Bosch.

The prime factor in decoding Bosch is the visual language of his period, i.e. the Middle Ages, the imagery that we know was immediately familiar to everyone in Bosch's day and environment. Until a few decades ago there were hardly any sources for us to consult, for virtually all the visual material at our disposal had been handed down from a social elite. The vast amount of late-medieval lead-tin badges which have been discovered, notably in the Netherlands, have brought about a fundamental change in this situation. The badges, both religious and secular, were produced in bulk and were available to people of all social classes. The number of subjects known from badges, i.e. as immediately understandable signs, in the period from the thirteenth to the middle of the sixteenth century, is enormous. It seems only natural to compare the visual repertory of the badges with Hieronymus Bosch's wealth of visual material. This can be done in two ways. First, there are literal correspondences: subjects which occur identically on badges and in Bosch's pictures. And then there are thematic correspondences: visual analogies or combinations which can be interpreted in a similar, sometimes associative manner in the badges and in Boschian elements. This article discusses examples of both categories.

In his Ontcijfering van Jeroen Bosch (1949, English edition 1979, 'Hieronymus Bosch. His picture-writing deciphered', Rotterdam), Dirk Bax stressed the importance of the Dutch language. He used words, proverbs, expressions and folk tales as the key to a wealth of symbolic meanings. The thousands of badges form a comparable, but visual repertory.

17. Heraldische aspecten van pelgrimsinsignes / Wim van Anrooij, p. 225-233.

Summary - Heraldic aspects of badges.

Heraldry developed among the nobility in the first half of the twelfth century. In the period of the badges (thirteenth century and later) elements of heraldry appeared in other walks of life. A good 14% of the badges in this book have heraldic connotations. Because badges were not coloured, form is all we can go by in interpreting them. Popular symbols ­ eagles, fleurs-de-lis, rampant lions and crosses ­ predominate. Scrutiny of details (sometimes partly based on contextual data) can lead to surprising conclusions. Interpretation must always take into account the possibility that arms or an armorial element may be mirror images. In a number of cases arms can be linked with historical figures, invariably political bigwigs such as the German emperor, the kings of France or England and the dukes of Burgundy. A few arms can be assigned to females. Attributed arms are found on badges too, the most spectacular examples being those of the Three Kings. Heraldic accessories round the escutcheon, such as supporters, and specific elements of armour, such as the shape of a shield or a helmet, are incidental aids to a more precise interpretation or dating of the badges.

18. Karel de Stoute op bedevaart: de aanschaf van pelgrimstekens door de graaf van Charolais / Hugo van der Velden, p. 234-241.

Summary - Charles the Bold on pilgrimage: pilgrim badges purchased by the Count of Charolais.

A record of Charles the Bold's (1433-1477) accounts, drawn up in 1457, sheds a curious light on the purchase and use of pilgrim badges. Charles had a predilection for churches where relics and notably representations of miracles were venerated: 74% of the oblations he distributed were dedicated to the shrine of a representation of a miracle. On his visits to such shrines he often bought pilgrim badges, always in combination with an oblation during mass, a donation in the offertory box and the purchase of candles. He acquired badges on no less than fourteen occasions, always several at a time; they were fashioned from lead, silver, silver-gilt or gold. At Our Lady of Scheut, near Brussels, he bought badges nine times. As a rule his veneration of relics and representations of miracles - and hence his purchase of pilgrim badges - was determined by his itinerary, which goes to show that there was not necessarily any connection between pilgrimage and the purchase of pilgrim badges. In a more general sense they document the participation in a cult. On only two occasions were badges acquired in a shrine that was explicitly described as the destination of a pilgrimage. These were the only times that Charles bought golden pilgrim badges.

19. Muntspelden: profane draagtekens met muntvoorstelling. Catalogus munten en muntspelden / Arent Pol, p. 473-476.

Summary - Coin brooches, secular badges derived from coins.

Badges with representations borrowed from coin designs constitute a minor part of all religious and secular badges. In fact, however, these 'coin brooches' are more important than their relatively small number indicates, because they can be dated quite precisely ­ individually as well as a group.

The images on coin brooches are derived from gold and silver coins. The designs of these coins are of a religious or secular character. Accurate copies can be observed, alongside clumsily rendered details or mirror images of the design. The Latin inscriptions on the prototype coins are sometimes exactly copied on the brooches, but (considerably) degenerate and retrograde texts are more common. In addition to coin inscriptions we encounter the proverb AVE MARIA GRACIA PLENA, which is not found on the imitated coin types. There is also the occasional inscription that is completely different, for example one that states the name of the coin (in Dutch) and another with a satirical text that ridicules its heraldic type (in French).

Nearly half the types of coins that served as models are of Flemish and Brabant origin. This fact, together with the distribution of the findspots, indicates that the coin brooches were made in the Low Countries. Most of the brooches derive from fourteenth-century coin types; some date from a slightly later period, but none have been found with types derived from late fifteenth-century coins. Presumably most coin brooches were made between c. 1350 and 1450. It has been suggested that they were metal labels for money-bags or political party badges, but it is more likely that they were simply cheap, silvery-white, shiny adornments for the ordinary man.