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Storytelling in Miniature

Heinrich Aldegrever
German, 1502–about 1561

Dagger Sheath with a Nude Woman

6 5/16 x 1 5/16–13/16 in.
Winthrop H. Perry Fund, 1961.10

The early engravers were often associated with the art of metalsmithing. Goldsmiths and silversmiths relied upon printed designs to secure commissions for their metalwork. Heinrich Aldegrever, today considered to be the most famous designer of the period, produced over 100 decorative designs of endless creativity. At least a dozen of his ornamental designs were intended for dagger sheaths. A sheath based on this design would probably have been used for formal or ceremonial occasions.