Monday, October 12, 2009

15,000 Badges and Ampullae

Kunera, late medieval badges and ampullae

Badges and ampullae are the material witnesses to the rich and fascinating visual world of the late Middle Ages.

Often only unique copies or – in rare instances – some duplicates of the same mould were passed down, even though the objects were mass-produced at the time. The material played a major part in the dissemination of imagery from the late twelfth century to the middle of the sixteenth century. From the middle of the fifteenth century, printing gradually took over. Depictions on badges and ampullae differ from Christ, Mary and the saints to utensils, plants and animals, literary and sexual subjects. In addition, the pilgrims’ souvenirs that were produced in one place and lost in another, give a perception of travel routes. Where did pilgrims go and how many miles did their travels cover? The website Kunera offers access to over 15.000 badges and ampullae of religious and profane subjects. The pilgrimage sites and the sites where the objects were found are mapped out visualizing the dissemination of the objects and the travel routes at a single glance.

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