Special exhibitions

Special exhibition: Treasure and protection – From chastity belt to coffin key

Schell Collection’s exhibits at Castle Forchtenstein

April, 12th to October, 31st 2018

There is a catalogue for this special exhibition. The one who owns a treasure, seeks to protect it. To get a treasure is pretty hard, but to keep it, isn’t any simpler. If you think about a treasure, most of you will have expensive and precious things in your mind, for instance a golden bar or a diamand ring. Actually, a treasure can also be an intangible good, like honour for example. During further times people started wars and battles only because someone damaged somebody’s glory.

Fairytales often tell us about treasures locked safely in a heavy chest or wodden box. The hero has to find the chest, after passing many dangerous adventures.

The last task is opening the box, which is pretty difficult. Without the magic spell, he won’t have a chance. Everyday life of ordinary people, but also of rich citizens and nobility wasn’t any different as life in fairytales. No matter what kind of treasur they had, envious people were right around the corner, trying to steal it. That’s when lockssmiths joined in. They invented puzzle locks and other various mechanisms to protect the treasure. Next to the use of iron as unbreakabl material, they used different tactics to hide the keyhole.

A castle on a hill – like castle Forchtenstein – is a very secure place to protect a treasure. On top of a mountain with jagged rocks, framed by a castle moat and seperated from the area via a moveable drawbridge, no enemy is able to stalk the treasure without getting noticed. The family of Esterhazy has noticed that Castle Forchtenstein offers protection with a secret passage to the treasure chamber.

The special exhibition “Treasure and protection” is a cooperation of the private foundation of Esterhazy and Schell Collection. Over 150 exhibits can be seen at castle Forchtenstein’s second floor. Exhibits from different periods, various materials like reliquary caskets, minne-chests, treasure boxes and art chamber objects try their best to fit in these extraordinary walls.