If you haven’t already seen the exhibition, Medieval Power: Symbols and Splendour, currently on show at the Queensland Museum, make plans now. The exhibition finishes on Sunday and is a rare opportunity to see original artefacts from a period of pageantry, banquets, jousting and knights that still fascinates people even today.
From the splendour of the Royal Court through to everyday life, it paints a remarkable picture of what life was like during the Middle Ages. The exhibition was curated by the British Museum and features many objects that have never been displayed in public before. The Queensland Museum is the only museum in Australia to host it, so if you want to see these priceless objects before they leave our shores, you need to act quickly.
More than 270 artefacts, some of them more than 1000 years old, are in the exhibition, which spans the period AD 400 to 1500. The objects range from sumptuous pieces owned by royalty to simple tools and household items, including pottery, coins and candlesticks.
Among the most splendid pieces are delicately crafted jewellery such as the magnificent 1400-year-old Wingham Brooch, found in a high-status grave in Wingham, Kent.
Other cornerstones of medieval life are revealed through tools of war, including knights’ helmets and swords, and through objects of religious significance such as papal rings, devotional figures and plaques.
One of the highlights is a Lewis chessmen piece from a 12th century chess set that draws visitors from all over the world to the British Museum.
The treasures are used to explain key events, highlight famous figures and introduce visitors to various aspects of the medieval world.
It encompasses all levels of society, including monarchs, the clergy and the masses living in Europe’s towns and cities, and it illustrates how events such as the Black Death, The Crusades and the Wars of the Roses shaped modern Europe.
Although the medieval period is commonly seen to have come to a close by the early 16th century, its legacy continues in the Europe we know today. Don’t miss the opportunity to peek through this window into the past.
Medieval Power: Symbols and Splendour is on at Queensland Museum till 10 April 2016. Go to the Queensland Museum website for ticket information.
Photos reproduced with permission of the Queensland Museum.