Medieval Seal with Three Fish


A medieval bronze ‘chess piece’ type seal, featuring an intaglio decorated with three fish.

The stamp seal features a hexagonal neck leading to a trefoil loop, with which to hold the seal. The intaglio is rounded and inscribed with a legend: the letters are now difficult to read, but most likely connect the seal to its owner. The three fish in the centre of the legend are pike, a freshwater fish consumed during the medieval period. Pike were used as a heraldic symbol, usually as a pun for the owner’s name or nickname – the Latin word for a pike was ‘Lucius’. The medieval family of De Lucy, for example, displayed three pike on their shields.

Date: Circa 12th - 13th century AD
Condition: Fine condition.


SKU: AH-497 Category: Tags: , , , ,

During the medieval period, seals were widely used in trading to ensure the authenticity and security of a document or letter. Bronze seals were a possession of the wealthy, since they cost more to produce than lead seals, and had a longer life span on account of the metal’s hardness. The social status of the owner was reflected in the size of the seal, with the combination of motif and text providing further insight into the owner’s identity, such as their place in a family.

Intaglio made in relief is the most traditional form of dry seal used to make the impression on the paper. The common design of a seal comprises a graphic emblem in the middle surrounded by a text, which is called the legend, around the perimeter.

To find out more about seals, please visit our relevant blog post: Seal Rings – Intaglios as Signature

Weight 11.4 g
Dimensions H 2.6 cm