An important carved gilt-wood coat of arms for the Principality of Béarn.
French, late 16th / early 17th century (before c.1620).
Measures 46 x 42cm.
The arms are carved with a central cartouche depicting two cows facing dexter. The cartouche is surmounted with a Ducal coronet and flanked by two lions rampant regardant. The remainder of the relief is deeply carved with floral swags and retains its original gilding and is without restoration.
The Viscounty, later Principality of Béarn was a medieval lordship in the far south of France, part of the Duchy of Gascony from the late ninth century. In 1347, the viscount declared Béarn an independent principality without feudal obligations. It later entered a personal union with the Kingdom of Navarre in 1479 and with France in 1589. In 1620, the prince (who was also the king) formally incorporated Béarn as a province of France.
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