Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 5558
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Jäggi , Carola.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Eastern Choir or Western Gallery? The Problem of the Place of the Nuns' Choir in Königsfelden and Other Early Mendicant Nunneries
  • Source: Gesta 40, 1 ( 2001): Pages 79 - 93.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Agnes, Daughter of King Albert of Habsburg and Wife of King Andreas III of Hungary Architecture- Religious Double Houses Konigsfelden, Aargau, Switzerland- Franciscan Double Monastery- Church- Eastern Choir and Western Gallery Monasticism Poor Clares Orde
  • Award Note:
  • Geographic Area: Germany
  • Century: 14
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Nine figures. Figure One Königsfelden, church of the former Franciscan double monastery, view from the northeast. Figure Two Königsfelden, church interior, view to the east. Figure Three Königsfelden, choir, view from below. Figure Four Königsfelden, plan of the church and two cloisters. Figure Five Königsfelden, church, view from the nave in the western part of the south aisle showing the door that connected the gallery with the south cloister. Figure Six Königsfelden, church, longitudinal section. Figure Seven Naples, S. Chiara, groundplan. Figure Eight Colmar, Unterlinden, plan of the building complex with reconstruction of the original church plan. Figure Nine Basel, Klingental, plan of the church with reconstructed position of the altars.
  • Table:
  • Abstract: A rich corpus of written documentation exists to aid in the reconstruction of conventual life in the Franciscan double monastery of Königsfelden, founded in 1308 by Elisabeth, widow of king Albrecht of Habsburg. This documentation includes directives concerning the rights and responsibilities of the male and female communitites and the organization of the Divine Office that were issued by Agnes, Elisabeth's daughter, who supervised the monastery for 48 years after Elisabeth's death in 1313. In additon, escavations of the 1980s have provided important information about the building history of the church, which still survives, and of other structures formerly in the monastic enclosure. Despite this wealth of material, however, it remains unclear precisely how the male and female communities shared the monastic space. A salient question is the position of the nuns' choir. Archeologists have determined that in the fourteenth century a narrow wooden gallery existed to the west of the nave, accessible from the Clarissan cloister to the south of the church. But a chronicle of the sixteenth century speaks of the eastern choir, with its splendid cycle of stained glass windows, as the choir of the nuns. There are only two solutions: either there was a major change in the organization of liturgical space during the later fourteenth or fifteenth century, or we must accept that two different spaces were reserved for the nuns within the church, used by them for different liturgical purposes. The latter hypothesis becomes more probable when we consider cases like those of Unterlinden in Colmar or Klingental in Basel--Dominican nunneries which did not have an attached male convent but which, nevertheless, had both an elongated choir to the east and a western gallery. [Reproduced by permission of the International Center of Medieval Art.]
  • Author's Affiliation: Technische Universität, Berlin
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available