Anhänger mit liegendem Windhund der Pfalzgräfin Dorothea Sabina von Pfalz-Neuburg (1576-1598)

Bayerisches Nationalmuseum


The pendant with a lying greyhound is a gem. These elaborately enamelled pieces of jewellery often set with gemstones were highly prized by the nobility’s men and women during the Renaissance. They were worn on necklaces or pinned to the sleeve. Women also attached them to the belt chain. Depictions of all kinds of animals, such as imaginative sea creatures, colourful birds or noble dogs, were especially popular. This is proven by the preserved pieces, but also by the numerous gems mentioned in princely inventories.

The dog symbolises the values of loyalty and love. This is precisely what the Latin inscription "fide et amore praevaleo" (I am strong through fidelity and love) on the dark blue enamelled banner at the foot of the white greyhound refers to. It is lying in an elegant pose on a luxurious cushion that shimmers silky green through the use of translucent enamel and whose tassels are adorned with rubies. The necklace of set rubies is also extravagant. The goldsmith’s particular skill is evident in the enamelling of the dog and cushion, in which the glass flows cover the sculptural bodies flawlessly all around ("email en ronde bosse").

Countess Palatine Dorothea Sabina of Palatinate-Neuburg (1576-1598) died at the age of 22. She was buried in the Lauingen royal crypt in splendid clothes and with precious jewellery. She wore the pendant with the greyhound on a chain around her neck.