Memorial panel commemorating the knight Rudolf von Erlach (1299–1360), who led the Swiss confederates at the Battle of Laupen in 1339
Bern, Louis Halter, 1939
Polychrome glasses, painted with black vitreous paint and yellow silver stain; very fine drawing and particularly refined leading; superb condition
The image refers to the representation of Rudolf von Erlach in the Spiezer Chronicle (a significant historical document of the late fifteenth century from Bern), and shows the captain in the field and leader of the Bern troops and their allies kneeling and asking God for his blessing. On the right is a knight wearing a white surcoat with a white cross on his chest.
Crosses consisting of strips of cloth are attested for the first time in descriptions of the Battle of Laupen. They were adopted as a sign by which the confederates might recognize one another and attached to chests, backs, shoulders, arms, legs, hats and weapons. In the middle of the fifteenth century, the white cross was incorporated into the flags of the Swiss cantons.