Actual 48 mm size by Hughes Bovy, Genf / Freytag
The glorious and regally dignified Lady of Zurich is adorned with a stately ornate crown. Her queenly form is cloaked in a gown made of the finest silk, her gossamer cape flutters with the wind.
Her right arm is perched upon a meritorious shield bearing the colors of Zurich, her hand bears the olive branch the universal symbol of peace. Yet she is aware that peace is fragile and hard fought, hence the sharpshooter’s rifle is always in sight. Her left hand rests upon the mane of her trusty unwavering companion, Zurich’s majestic lion, declaring his utmost devotion and unfailing support to her across the ancient annals of history and time.
In the distance lies the cityscape of Old Zurich, the river Limmat winding past the venerable Grossmünster and the clock spire of the famed Imperial Abbey of Fraumünster.
Above, all of eleven shields, displaying notable blazon emblems of Zurich’s municipal districts.
Turicum. Vigeat Industria. Felix - Zurich. Thriving People and Industries. Happiness
The heraldic beast has risen up, his magnificent armored form a display of strength and courage. He hoists the standard of the esteemed Cross depicting the Confederacy, embellished with the flag of the great Zurich canton, in keen anticipation and celebration of the great shooting competition.
His other paw upon the fancy blazon standard, in the years before 1530 standing alone, but thereafter a proud fifth full member of the Old Confederacy along with Lucerne, Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden.
The saintly Union Eagle of erstwhile Roman heritage, wielding in his claws the protector sword and sovereign orb of free rule.
Lion of Zurich
In 1615, three cities (Zurich, Bern and Venice), entered into an alliance. For the Venetians, the main purpose was to secure the direct trade routes to the north and to France. Those routes were threatened by the presence of the Spanish in northern Italy. The agreement gave Venice the right to recruit one regiment from Zurich and one from Bern if necessary. Since the late Middle Ages, Swiss soldiers had been regarded as fearsome fighters on the battlefields of Europe, and were highly sought-after. In return, the two Swiss cities secured for themselves trade freedoms, from which the Zurich textile industry in particular benefited.
For Venice, the fact that the city was able to enter into an alliance with Zurich and Bern is largely thanks to Giovanni Battista Padavino. Years earlier, the Republic’s envoy had spent a long period of time in the city on the banks of the Limmat, and was very familiar with the ways of the people of Zurich. At numerous dinners with prominent Zurich personages, Padavino had also made the acquaintance of the prestigious gilt silver, which was used at formal dinners in those days. This type of table decoration had clearly impressed him, because he decided to gift the City of Zurich a winged lion of St Mark made of gilded silver. The lion figure is hollow. Its head can be removed and used as a drinking vessel. Sculptor Ulrich Oeri, who created the wax model in accordance with the Venetians’ specifications, and goldsmith Diethelm Holzhalb, made the lion. The latter was responsible for producing the figure in silver. The gift was formally presented in 1608 – and who knows, perhaps it was precisely then that Zurich’s fascination with the lion as a heraldic animal and symbol began.
In celebration of the significant Schützenfest event held in 1892, and the Lion the central symbolic heraldic beast very much loved and greatly influencing the artistic works and designs from the Canton of Zurich.