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Miniature Natural Horn by Johann Wilhelm Haas,
Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1681

NMM 7213. Miniature natural horn by Johann Wilhelm Haas, Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1681.

NMM 7213. Miniature natural horn by Johann Wilhelm Haas, Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1681. Single-coiled, one-piece, solid silver body; mouthpiece, garland and bell interior gold-plated. Tassels of yellow, red, and green silk threads, fixed to the eyelets by leather bindings and held together by a wooden knob covered by threads of the same material, woven in a zigzag-pattern. Ex coll.: Ernst Buser, Binningen, Switzerland. Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection, 1999.


Master's Mark and Date

Forward facing hare leaping left, engraved on bell garland Date of manufacture, 1681, engraved on bell garland

Engraved on bell garland: [forward facing hare leaping left] I • W • H and IOHANN • WILHELM • HAAS • NVRNB 1681.

The master's mark, a leaping hare facing left and hinting at the maker’s name (Hase = hare), identifies the instrument to be the product of Johann Wilhelm Haas (1649-1723), the founder of the most famous Nürnberg trumpet workshop.



City Inspection Mark

Inspection mark

Besides the signature and master’s mark a city inspection mark, N, is stamped next to a zigzag line, scraped into the bell, by which enough metal was removed to examine its alloy. This was a common method used in Nürnberg to examine and approve the quality of metal goods produced within the city walls.


Garland Decorations

Cast angel head and other decorative elements

Cast angel head, scallop shells, and rim of foliate buds.

Engraved tulip
Engraved daisy.

Engraved tulip

Engraved daisy

The garland is decorated with four applied cast angel heads with wings, engravings of flowers (tulip, daisy), and elaborately punched and engraved scallop shells. The Nürnberg rim uses punched wire with a pattern of foliate buds.


Ferrule and Mouthpiece

Mouthpiece

The same decorative wire, similar floral engravings, and impressed and engraved rings embellish the ferrule.

Interior of mouthpiece cup

The mouthpiece, fixed to the instrument, has a deep cup with sharp edge at the beginning of the throat.


This miniature horn, on which four partials are playable (g1, g2, d3, and g4), was built in the year that Wolf Wilhelm Haas (1681-1760), the youngest son of the maker, was born. Unlike the custom elsewhere in Europe, it was common in Nürnberg for the youngest son, not the oldest, to take over the father’s profession. So, it was Wolf Wilhelm who would perpetuate Johann Wilhelm Haas’s workshop and its fame. It is a striking coincidence that the miniature instrument was built in the year 1681; probably it was a gift of the father to his youngest son to honor his birth or baptism. The miniature horn’s appearance is equivalent to that of trumpets made for the court, being of solid silver with highlights in gold plate. Perhaps it was designed to reflect the importance of the family – in miniature – just as richly decorated trumpets of precious metals reflected the importance of court households.


Measurements

Sounding length:  ca. 300 mm, with mouthpiece ca. 317 mm; height:  113 mm; bell diameter:  65 mm.


Literature

Sabine Klaus, "Haas & Haas: A Miniature Horn and a Natural Trumpet from the Most Famous Nürnberg Workshop," America’s Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 28, No. 2 (May 2001), pp. 4-5.

Karin Tebbe, Ursula Timann, and Thomas Eser, Nürnberger Goldschmiedekunst 1541-1868, Band I. Meister, Werke, Marken (Nürnberg: Verlag des Germanischen Nationalmuseums, 2007), Teil 1: Text, p. 505; Teil 2: Tafeln, 993.

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