Hanzestedenplaats 1, Antwerp
Since December 2021, a new permanent exhibition can be admired on the sixth floor of the MAS: Freight. It replaces the ‘Port’ exhibition. So they deal with roughly the same subject, but now it’s really about the freight, the elements that were brought in the hold of the ships and transported to and from Antwerp.
Plan of the port of Antwerp
In the focus room (the long space on the left after you enter the exhibition space) the map of the port of Antwerp is depicted. A text and an element are shown per time period. Be sure to press the buttons below the text, they highlight the outline of the harbor from that time on the big plan.
The exhibition space is divided into docks, six in total. In each dock, just like on the plan of the harbor, a time period is depicted. The first dock covers the earliest period with memories of the Romans and Vikings. The Middle Ages can be found in dock two. One of the showpieces is the model of the Cog of Deurganck. When excavating the Deurganck dock, one of the largest and most complete cogs was encountered. A cog is a ship widely used by the Hanseatic League, it was compact and manoeuvrable and sailed from the Baltic States to the Mediterranean. The cog was completely scanned and each part was printed in plastic on a scale of 1/10. The model is more than 2 meters long.
Scaldis and Antverpia
Opposite the third dock hangs a painting depicting a man and a woman. It is a copy of a work by Abraham Janssens from 1608 and it represents the river god Scaldis. He gives the city maiden Antverpia a cornucopia, a reference to the wealth that the Scheldt has brought to the city. This copy once adorned the fireplace of the wedding hall in the town hall.
The Bones of Giant Antigoon
The most striking in the exhibition are these bones: a shoulder blade and rib. Fished up from the Scheldt in the 16th century. It was believed that these were the bones of Giant Antigoon from the Brabo legend. They were hung in the town hall, in the same way as they are now exhibited, on chains. We now know that they are whale bones…
In preparation for this exhibition, the bones were restored. A painting of a rider and a horse was discovered. The restorer also sees a dragon and suspects that Saint George is depicted. In the dark spot, can you see the rider and the horse’s legs below?
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