There is an inscription on the back of the breast plate of this ceremonial chain of a shooter's guild. It states that Nicolaas Rockox gifted this chain to Rubens in 1614.
One year later, Rubens completed the monumental Descent from the Cross for the altar of the shooter's guild in Antwerp's cathedral. He was rewarded for this efforts with an honorary membership of the guild, which was considered quite an honour. Possibly the chain was an additional reward for his services. At the time, Rockox was the guild's head officer.
Various shooter's guilds or city militias were founded in cities in the Middle Ages. They were responsible for protecting the city. After 1500, following the advent of firearms (muskets), the guild of the musket bearers or "kolveniers" was also founded. In Rubens's time, this guild was one of the six shooter's guilds in the city. The main event of the year was "popinjay shooting". The best shooter would receive a silver popinjay or parrot, which was attached to a silver chain. The winner got to wear the chain for one year and was crowned "king" of the guild.
- Ceremonial chain of a shooter's guild
- Valenciennes, 1614
- Gilded silver
- Long-term loan by Baron Robert de Vinck de Winnezeele (1907-83), the husband of Countess M-M. Le Grelle