Made by Viduquestla
The canons that have inspired the creation of a prize at the Torneoinarmatura have been consistent since the first edition. Starting with the Dragon theme based on historical documents, the creation of the artefact must be made with (as far as possible) historical materials and techniques by Italian craftsmen. That said, we thought one of the distinctive symbols of the man-at-arms on the battlefield and in tournaments would be represented by his crest, coloured attachments placed on top of the helmet that can take various forms.
Based on documentary sources, we decided to make a dragon-shaped crest. To do so, we chose to entrust this task to Ezio Zanini di Viduquestla (https://www.viduquestla.it/), a wood craftsman (and not only) who we collaborated with for other prizes (see St. George pendant and the Dragon from the 2016 edition).
The shape of the crest depicting a dragon clinging to a tower was inspired by several paintings found on chests from the second half of the 15th century in the Tuscan-Romagnolo area.
While these depictions prompted the idea and posture of the dragon at the top of the tower, they were not detailed enough to provide information on the details necessary to complete the sculpture. Therefore, we borrowed ideas from various sculptural and pictorial works from the same historical period, in which the details necessary to complete the sculpture are vividly represented.
The crest is made from lime wood. The trunk was reduced to small pieces by hand with a club and wedges, and the cuts were squared with axes and hatches. Throughout the working process, we tried to limit the use of modern tools as much as possible, resorting to the use of power tools only in sporadic machining with small cutters (instead of flywheel drills that were used for these purposes at the time) and for the base of the tower which was turned by hand with an electric lathe.
The block of lime wood was then sculpted, initially with a hand saw and hatchet to sketch the shape to be represented. Subsequently, gouges and files were used to add the various details to gradually complete the shape.
Once the desired shape was formed, a layer of gypsum from Bologna was added to allow for the subsequent layer of metal leaf coating.
The finish was completed with two coats: the first with pure lacquer and the second with lacquer mixed with bitumen.
Here is the final result.
Text and Photo VIDUQUESTLA