As we have told earlier, we had a trip to Tallinn, meeting one of our customers. The main highlight of the trip was the Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood. The Museum presents a collection of Knights Orders from various historical periods and countries across Europe.
Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood
At first, we were simply overwhelmed with all the shapes and materials: crosses, stars, eagles, plants and animal figures, golds, diamonds, rubies, sapphires… Fortunately, the founder of the museum gave us an educational tour revealing the facts and the legends hidden between the beautiful objects.
All these medals and collars emerged as a symbol of belonging to a certain community of knights. Those communities united noble members of aristocratic or royal blood who followed the same set of moral rules and acted towards protecting the highest values of humanity. Later on, some of the orders started to serve as honorable rewards to the military or civil servants who made a significant contribution to the society. In some extreme cases, medals could even serve as an ambiguous gift to earn the disposition of a mayor or a king. However, generally, those signs were still symbols of honor, dignity, and strict moral code.
Many of the orders emerged under memorable circumstances, which later became their legends. For instance, the famous The Most Noble Order of the Garter has the following story behind it:
The king, Henri IV was dancing at a ball with a lady, when suddenly her garter fell down from the leg to the public exposure. In those times, that was an embracing and inappropriate misfortune. However, instead of being ashamed Henri IV lifted the garter from the floor, wore it around his upper arm and said the famous saying that later became the slogan of the community:
“Shame on him who thinks evil of it”
MATERIALS & SHAPES
By and large, the amount of gold and gems in the order correlated directly with the status that it brought. The most intricate medals traditionally belonged to the members of royal families. Subsequently, simpler versions of the same orders from brass served as a reward for lower rank military officers.
Roaming through the museum, we were particularly excited to notice how items differ based on their country of origins. Even at those times, each order had its authentic features. Simple geometric shapes in Japanese decorations, dragons in the Manzhou samples or fauns’ figures in the Finnish signs.
Fortunately, during our tour at the museum we got properly inspired for our work. We are currently responsible for the development of the museum’s souvenirs collection. The work started with the first trial piece: a decorated replica of the White Eagle Order. We designed the souvenir in tight collaboration with the customer. Later, we made a precise 3D model to evaluate the result. The souvenir will be produced with high-quality materials in USA.
The souvenir can serve as a reminder of a wonderful Tallinn trip or become a star-piece for a Christmas tree decoration.