Current Exhibits

A selection of our current exhibits

  • Processional silver cross

    The cross shown here is silver with hallmarks from 1805 or 1809. Stamp marks on metalwork objects usually certified their precious metal content. Further stamps had to do with legal stipulations.

    The cross has an eight-piece foot with a double hallmark in the rhombus containing a large ‘C’s and another with an ‘8’, denoting 8-Lot silver. In addition, there is a stamp with crossed keys. At the foot of the cross is an inscription: ‘1470’ in Gothic numerals.

    On the front of the cross, the ends of the top half branch out into trefoils. Trefoils are a common element of the late Romanesque and Gothic style and consist of three, outward-pointing circular arcs with the same radii as inscribed in a circle.

    Left and right can be found the single letters ‘F’ and ‘H’ (probably the owner’s initials). At the top is the inscription ‘IH. CROS’, the abbreviation for ‘Jesus Christ’. The inscription ‘INRI’ (‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’) can be found above a relic window in the shape of a Teutonic Order cross. The trefoil on the lower end is decorated with a black, wolf-like animal in a blazon. The ring at the top end once served to attach a securing tape to ensure the cross did not fall during prayer processions.

    The reverse shows an engraving of St. Christopher with the Infant Jesus and has a removable piece of the True Cross under clear quartz along with the coat of arms of an unknown bishop.

    The inscription ‘receptacle containing the confirmation from Rome of the authenticity of this piece of the True Cross’ can be found on the bottom plate. This was the certificate of authenticity of a relic issued by a bishop. The foot of the cross is hollow, presumably it once held the now-lost certificate. The processional cross comes from the Margarete Sperl collection. It was a gift from His Magnificence Günther Georg Bauer, privy councillor of Salzburg.

  • Lion Madonna

    Madonnas standing or enthroned upon a lion are very rare. The first of these sculptures probably date back to the early period of Emperor Charles IV in the first half of the 14th century.

    The sculpture on display at the Leogang Mining and Gothic Museum is one of an exclusive circle of Salzburg Lion Madonnas, to which only six others in the world belong. One is in Bachschmiede in Wals near Salzburg, two are at the Bavarian National Museum in Munich, one is in private ownership in Hamburg, one is in Berlin’s Bode Museum and the sixth can be found at the Louvre in Paris.

    The Lion Madonna at the Leogang Mining and Gothic Museum was created around 1370 in pine wood. The description of the Lion Madonna is basically consistent with the older Lion Madonna in the Bavarian National Museum. With her crown and the now-missing sceptre in her left hand, she represented the Queen of Heaven. The falling veil, which seems to be buttoned over her chest, only covers the crown of her head, the curls on either side of her face remaining exposed.

    An archaic smile lightens up her face and that of the Infant Jesus. She stands in a distinctive S-pose. The Infant Jesus, wrapped in swaddling, sits facing front on his mother’s right arm.

    The lion is cowering on the low base plate. His jaw is open without baring his teeth and he has a thick, stylised mane and his tail between his legs. Originally the Infant Jesus, whose arms have survived as mere stumps, was presumably touching his right ear, demonstrating that he is listening to the roar of the lion beneath him, the symbol of the resurrection.

    Mary is standing with both feet on the lion. The central part of the drapery or arrangement of the folds of her mantle is dominated by descending concentric circles.

    The blue mantle of the Mother of God ends at approximately knee height, under which a more snug red robe is visible, hanging down towards the lion’s body.

  • Gezäh and lighting

    A miner’s toolset was known as ‘Gezäh’ (Old High German for ‘gizawa’, meaning ‘succeed’). This was basically a mallet and chisel. With the mallet in one hand the miner would strike one of several different kinds of chisel held in the other to score or scrape the rock.

    The miner would place iron pieces in the so-called ‘kerf’, the hole made by the impact, with smaller and larger wedges in between. The wedges would then be hit with a ‘Schlenkerhammer’ or club mallet until the stone cracked. Another miner would loosen the rock mass with an iron crowbar.

    This was an extremely hard and tedious job. If the miners failed to make progress they would use the age-old method of fire-setting, whereby the rock was make brittle by exposing it to heat and dousing it in cold water.

    At the end of the 17th century these millennia-old mining techniques were replaced by blasting with gunpowder. Now, deep holes would be drilled and sprinkled with gunpowder. The gunpowder would be compressed with a ramrod, a fuse inserted, the hole closed with sand or wooden pegs and then detonated.

    In order to work underground, the miners needed a light source. Initially kindling was used. This created a lot of soot, so towards the end of the 18th century, ‘Frösche’ or ‘frogs’ (tallow and oil lamps) came along, which were later replaced by acetylene and carbide lamps.

    Although the latter provided more brightness, they still had a naked flame which, with the combustible mine gases, ran the risk of causing a fatal explosion.

    It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that gasoline lamps were introduced, which burned brightly enough and did not soot. The miner finally had adequate and safe lighting at his disposal.

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