Nobles Amongst Themselves
The bishop of Chur served as the Emperor’s own guardian of the Alpine passes. In return, the Emperor granted him rich privileges as well as land. At the same time, the indigenous landed gentry controlled a multitude of small estates, marking their families’ local power by building castles in many areas. These served both as places of residence and as agricultural enterprises. Only few had any military or strategic function.
Our exhibit comes from within these circles of Raetian feudal gentry. Made of beech wood, it is lined with canvas, and features several painted coats of arms. Such small boxes, symbols of courtly love, hence also called „Love Boxes“, were popular as wedding gifts. Our exhibited object may well have been handed to the newly-wedded Count Johann von Werdenberg and to his wife Anna von Rhäzüns on the occasion of their marriage in 1365.
In the Late Middle Ages Raetia began to lose its importance as the hub whose transfer routes led across the mountain passes. The bishop of Chur, too, saw his power dwindle. The land was restless. New elites were beginning to emerge.
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