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Album of Tournaments and Parades in Nuremberg

Album of Tournaments and Parades in Nuremberg MET DP238706

Album of Tournaments and Parades in Nuremberg

The “Album of Tournaments and Parades in Nuremberg” is a 112-sheet manuscript which includes depictions of contestants equipped for tournaments called a “carousel.” The manuscript shows a parade of participants in tournaments known as “bachelors’ jousts,” held in Nuremberg between 1446 and 1561. The depictions include pageant sleighs used in ceremonies. The illustrations are the work of a letter painter, whose chief occupation was creating official documents and coats-of-arms.

Many of the tournament participants have their names written above their illustration. They are armed to fight a joust with blunt lances. This album provides a valuable record of the jousters’ costumes, fanciful crests, and the sometimes humorous or satirical emblems that decorated the jouster’s shields and horse trappings.

15th – 16th Century Nuremberg

Nuremberg in Germany had a cultural flowering in the 15th and 16th centuries, which made it the center of the German Renaissance. In 1525, Nuremberg accepted the Protestant Reformation, and shortly later, the religious Peace of Nuremberg, by which the Lutherans gained necessary concessions, was signed in Nuremberg.

German Renaissance

The German Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement that spread among German thinkers in the 15th and 16th centuries. Many areas of the arts and sciences were influenced, notably by the spread of Renaissance humanism to the various German states and principalities. There were many advances, and two developments dominated the 16th century, printing and the Protestant Reformation.

Early Carousels

The modern carousel emerged from old jousting traditions in Europe. Knights would gallop in a circle while tossing balls from one to another. This game was introduced to Europe at the time of the Crusades from earlier eastern traditions. Early Carousels were used to ready and strengthened the riders for real combat as they wielded their weapons.

Album of Tournaments and Parades in Nuremberg

  • Title:               Album of Tournaments and Parades in Nuremberg
  • Date:              late 16th–mid-17th century
  • Geography:    Nuremberg
  • Materials:       Pen and ink, watercolor, gold and silver washes; paper bound in gold-tooled leather
  • Culture:          Nuremberg, German
  • Dimensions:   Page: 13 5/8 x 9 7/8 in (34.61 x 25.08 cm)
  • Museum:        Metropolitan Museum of Art – MET

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  • The modern carousel emerged from early jousting traditions. Does this heritage change how you will view a merry-go-round in the future?
  • How did the German leadership in printing and religious independence change our world?


“Premature success is often short-lived.
– German Proverb


Photo Credit: 1) Metropolitan Museum of Art [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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