“Well, I hit the rowdy road, and many kinds I met there…”

The best gifts come wrapped in a bit of mystery. Check out the old wooden box that surprised me this Christmas—and sent me on an art-quest.

This box is 11.75 inches square and 2.75 inches deep. The sides are painted turquoise and golden. It used to have a lock—but who is that royal rider?

After several dead ends and a lucky hunch, I had an epiphany and identified this noble fellow and the larger work he inhabits. If you’re up for a Google challenge, see if you can do the same. Scrutinize a close-up of the box cover, and don’t ignore that rectangle at the bottom.

Happy twelfth day of Christmas!

* * *

(Give up? Here’s a stock photo with identifying information. There’s a Wikipedia entry on the complete work of art, and another site shows the box-cover scene in its full context.)

4 thoughts on ““Well, I hit the rowdy road, and many kinds I met there…”

  1. Heh. I had an old Time-Life History of Everything (meaning, Europe) book when I was a kid that had several pages dedicated to that particular procession. Isn’t one of the other riders supposed to be an idealised portrait of il Magnifico?

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  2. This is why blogging is so humbling. You imagine something is obscure because you’ve only just learned of it, and it turns out it’s famous and you were actually ignorant.

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  3. I think you need to unhumble yourself. 1) The puzzle I got was used, in a school sale, pure coincidence I ever ran across it; 2) I think it must be the same puzzle series, but I actually gave a different puzzle. Says my dad, “The nice puzzle you gave me last year in the same format is of a scene from the Tres riches heures du duc de Berry, the calendar scene from June, I think.”

    This all speaks very badly of 1) my memory; and 2) my knowledge of medieval & Renaissance art. But until informed otherwise, I will cling to a conviction that the same company produced both puzzles, as a salve for my amour propre.

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