Ceremonial hammer of Pope Julius III


Rome, 1549/1550

Silver, gilded, enamel, ebony (handle renewed)

L. 37.5 cm

With Dillingen University in 1803. Acquired from private ownership in 1865

Inv. No. R 692

Gallery 27




In 1300, the Catholic Church proclaimed for the first time a Holy Year of Jubilee in Rome which has been celebrated at certain intervals ever since. Traditionally, the Jubilee begins with the ritual opening of the Holy Door of the Saint Peter's Basilica. The Pope strikes the walled-up Holy Door three times with a specially made ceremonial hammer before it is opened. In 1550, Pope Julius III gave this masterfully crafted hammer to Cardinal Otto Truchsess von Waldburg of Augsburg, who later donated it to the University of Dillingen. It is the only surviving example of its kind from the 16th century. The front of the shaft shows the papal coat of arms, the back the prophet Moses striking water from the rock.

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