The seal of Otto von Kittlitz. A rare relic of the knightly sphragistics from the end of the 14th century

Marek Wójcik
Original title: Pieczęć Ottona von Kittlitz. Osobliwy zabytek sfragistyki rycerskiej z końca XIV w.
Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka 2010
Abstract

The purpose of the article is to discuss the seal of Otton von Kittlitz, a foreman in Lower and Upper Lusatia. The seal authenticates a document with the date the 13th of February 1395. It presents a shield with the coat of arms of von Kittlitz family, covered by the helmet with the jewel and hold by two bearded men. Surprising is not only the presence of the holders, but also the form of their projection referring to the topos of wild men. A motive of hairy, naked people armed with maces, spears or sticks was used often in plastic art works. Medieval manuscripts were adorned by miniatures presenting wild men fighting either each other or against beasts. A scene of fight is interpreted as a symbol of bad passions clashed together or a parody of a knightly tournament. Wrestling with the beast is a symbol of the clash against a devil, where a wild man seems to be a defender of civilization against the chaos. Figures surrounding the shield at the seal of Otto act as guards of the coat of arms and, in the same time, as defenders of the civilization achievements of the feudal world, especially its culture and morals. Otto presumably took this untypical for Silesian-Lusatian frontier motive from the seal of his brother-in-law, Timon von Colditz, a bailiff of the emperor of Charles IV and a foreman of the Duchy of Wrocław (Breslau). Probably it was also the Colditz family who influenced the change of the coat of arms of the Kittlitz family.

 

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