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Set MED-001

Pillory Scene

All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2011
Contents 6 figures
Poses 6 poses
Material Resin
Colours Cream
Average Height 25 mm (= 1.8 m)


Just about every town in Medieval Europe had a pillory. A pillory was a post to which was attached two hinged cross pieces with holes to allow a person’s head and arms to be placed and then secured. The first figure pictured above shows just such an individual, leaning forward and unable to move. Time spent in the pillory was extremely uncomfortable, but the main purpose of the pillory was to humiliate the offender in as public a way as possible, and so both punish them and serve as a warning to others. Famously people would often take the opportunity to jeer and throw things at the offender. Today we think of rotten food, but mud, excrement, dead rats and stones were just some of the projectiles used, and these could and did cause serious injury or even death.

In this set the offender is a woman, looking suitably miserable and tired as well she might. However next to her is a man who appears to have manacles on his wrists and so may be in chains and waiting his turn for punishment. The third and fourth figures are clearly engaged in pelting the miscreant, while the fifth is a well-dressed man who might easily represent the authorities that sentenced the woman. The final figure is clearly a religious man. During the medieval period the Church had its own courts and prisons, and could certainly be responsible for this woman’s fate. However perhaps he is simply taking the opportunity to point out to the crowd or the perpetrator the consequences of sinful actions.

Apart from what we assume to be the priest and the court official, the people are all dressed in fairly simple peasant clothes. Both the men wear tunics with hose and boots, and the hose of the manacled man are in quite a state, with one leg down and the other torn. The tormentor has a typical hat and holds a staff, while on his belt he has the usual items such a man would have – a purse and a knife. Both the women are wearing long dresses, which since they both have very low necklines look to be for the late medieval period. The woman about to throw something has her head wrapped in a turban, while the victim has undressed hair.

Although this is the first product to come to our attention from this manufacturer, the figures are sculpted by well-known sculptor Eric Trauner, who produced the Nikolai range already reviewed on this site. The same excellent and highly natural sculpting style is evident here, with good proportions, realistic clothing and very nice faces. The poses are good, although the woman throwing looks a little awkward (though not necessarily unlikely).

This is another in the growing number of sets depicting medieval life, and it does it very nicely. What this set cries out for however is the pillory itself, and we are surprised that a simple one was not included, although we understand that just such a model is separately available from this manufacturer. It should be noted that at 25mm (1.8 metres) in height these figures are really rather too tall for medieval citizens, particularly the women. This detracts somewhat from what is otherwise a really good set of figures.

Further Reading
"A Pictorial History of Costume" - Dover - Wolfgang Bruhn and Max Tilke - 9780486435428
"Medieval Costume in England and France" - Dover - Mary Houston - 9780486290607
"Medieval Costume, Armour and Weapons" - Dover - Eduard Wagner, Zoroslava Drobna & Jan Durdik - 9780486412405
"The Chronicle of Western Costume" - Thames & Hudson - John Peacock - 9780500511510

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