781st Anniversary of the Foundation of the City of Szczecin

Over the years, on the day of the anniversary of the granting of city rights to Szczecin, we have referred to exhibits connected with the foundation act (a document confirming privileges or seals). This time, we are presenting a unique object from the collection of Pomeranian antiquities, dating back to the first half of the 13th century, i.e. the period of the city's foundation.

Openwork badge depicting a bird
Inventory number MNS/A/22252
Dated: 1200 – 1225
Technique: odlewanie
Material: metal
Dimensions: 0.3 cm (height)5.6 cm (diameter)


1 copy copy copy copy copy copy copy


Physical description: A metal circular openwork badge with the image of a bird in the central part, surrounded by concentric circles with oval holes giving the whole a certain lightness. On the reverse, artistic ribs are arranged radially, reinforcing the structure.

Note: An early 13th century openwork badge was discovered during excavations within the Main Courtyard of the Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes in Szczecin. The plaque is circular, with the central part featuring the silhouette of a bird surrounded by concentric circles, including a row of oval holes. On the underside, the parts between the holes are reinforced with small ribs arranged radially. It was made of bright, soft metal, most likely tin-lead alloy using a casting and chiselling technique.

It remains an open question to determine the species of the bird, and thus to provide the correct interpretation of the symbolic content of the badge. It is sometimes assumed to be a dove or pigeon, in Christian iconography a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It is also assumed that it may be a bird of prey, a falcon or an eagle, and that the Szczecin badge is a Western European import, probably German. It is also not ruled out that it could be a depiction of a griffin. Almost identical objects have been found in Wrocław's Ostrow Tumski and in Kamień Pomorski. Their form and workmanship are reminiscent of pilgrim badges, emblems pinned to clothes, headgear or bags, visible signs of pilgrimage to holy places.

By Sławomir Słowiński


The object can be viewed at the National Museum in Szczecin - the Museum of Regional Traditions (ul. Staromłyńska 27) at the exhibition "Dawn of Pomerania. Collection of Pomeranian Antiquities". It can be found in showcase 55 under number 55.2.

The exhibit is also available at the virtual museum: Kategoria: Wczesne średniowiecze na Pomorzu - Obraz: MNS/A/22252 - Zbiory cyfrowe | Muzeum Narodowe w Szczecinie