Medieval Maces: Power & Ceremony, Museum of University of St Andrews

10th October 2013


September 7 – December 8, 2013. The biggest collection of medieval maces ever seen in the UK will go on display at the Museum of University of St Andrews (MUSA)

Medieval Mace, MUSA

The exhibition, ‘Medieval Maces: Power & Ceremony’, brings together ten University maces of international importance as part of the University’s 600th Anniversary celebrations.

Alongside the University’s three 15th century maces will be 14th and 15th century maces all the way from Heidelberg, Tübingen, Berlin, and Basel. The University of Glasgow’s medieval mace, depicted on its coat of arms of Glasgow University and on its seals, is also being lent for display.

Dr Helen Rawson, Co-Director of the Museum Collections Unit (Collections & Exhibitions), said: “This exciting exhibition will explore the symbolism and iconography of the maces and connections between medieval universities, as well as themes of medieval craftsmanship.”

Also on display will be the crozier of Bishop Fox, founder of Corpus Christi College, Oxford and a range of artefacts and documents relating to the foundation and early history of the University of St Andrews. The ‘Bull of Foundation’ of the University of St Andrews, issued on 28 August 1413 by Pope Benedict XIII, takes pride of place – its arrival in St Andrews in February 1414 was the occasion of great celebrations in the town, from a solemn thanksgiving in the Cathedral to bonfires in the streets and much drinking of wine. For conservation reasons, it is rarely on display.

Also featured will be the great mazer, or communal drinking cup, of St Leonard’s College which was passed ceremonially round the medieval college table at great feasts; medieval stained glass from St Mary’s College; and a beautifully illustrated illuminated Book of Hours from 1450.

The exhibition is free to all and has been timed to coincide with the University’s 600th Anniversary Academic Celebration being held September 13-14, 2013.

A varied events programme accompanies the exhibition including lectures and workshops, as well as family activities focused on subjects such as heraldry, medieval art and weaponry.

The exhibition is supported by the Recognition Fund, administered by Museums Galleries Scotland; The Idlewild Trust; and Click Netherfield.

Exhibition opening times are Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 12noon-4pm.

Free admission.

MUSA tells the story of Scotland’s first University from its foundation in the 15th century until the present day. Visitors can encounter some notable figures from the University’s history, discover some unique and internationally important objects and artworks and experience stunning vistas over West Sands from the viewing terrace.

Further details can be found on the museum website: www.st-andrews.ac.uk/museum
For details of the University of St Andrews’ Academic Celebration go to: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/600/events/celebration/

Images ©University of St Andrews.