Lot 10
  • 10

German, Cologne, circa 1170

8,000 - 12,000 GBP
21,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Plaque with four quatrefoils from the Shrine of the Three Kings in Cologne Cathedral
  • partially gilt, champlevé and cloisonné enamelled copper
  • 3.9 by 2.9cm., 1½ by 1 1/8 in.
stamped: Z on the inside


Shrine of the Three Kings, Cologne Cathedral, probably until circa 1794-1804;
Ernst Kofler and Marthe Truniger, Lucerne, before 1964 to 1971;
Edmund de Unger, London;
his sale, Sotheby's New York, The Keir Collection of Medieval Works of Art, 20 November 1997, lot 2


Zurich, Kunsthaus, E and M Kofler-Truniger Collection, 1964, no. 840;
Kansas City, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Medieval enamels and sculptures from the Keir Collection, 1983, no. 8


Sammlung E. und M. Kofler-Truniger, Luzern, exhib. cat. Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, 1964, p. 73, no. 685;
H. Schnitzler, P. Bloch and C. Ratton, Email, Goldschmiede- und Metallarbeiten. Europäisches Mittelalter, Sammlung E. und M. Kofler-Truniger, Luzern, Lucerne/ Stuttgart, 1965, vol. II, E32, pl. 35;
M. Stokstad, Medieval enamels and sculptures from the Keir Collection, exh. cat. Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, 1983, no. 8;
D. Kötzsche, 'Fragmente vom Dreikönigenschrein - Wo sind sie geblieben?', K. Hardering and L. Becks (eds.), Kölner Domblatt. Jahrbuch des Zentral-Dombau-Vereins, 2009, pp. 99-102, figs. 50-51

Catalogue Note

Despite an illustrious 20th-century provenance this plaque was only recently identified as a missing section of the Shrine of the Three Kings in Cologne, the largest reliquary in the Western world and the high point of Mosan Romanesque art, noted in the cited study by Dietrich Kötsche. When the French revolutionary troops approached Cologne in the summer of 1794, the Shrine and the Treasury of Cologne Cathedral were moved across the Rhine. The two crates containing the Shrine were returned in March 1804 and when they were opened the sections were found in such poor condition that they could only be pieced together with the greatest trouble. The Shrine had been damaged in previous centuries but the situation in 1804 prompted the cathedral authorities to extensively restore the most important object in their church. During this campaign a replica of the present plaque was affixed to the shrine just under the proper left foot of the prophet Ezekiel.