A fine 19th c silver devotional box with an image of Ernst of Saxony inside, whose maternal uncle Frederick 111 was Holy Roman Emperor. It is a relatively humble box with the sacred heart and cross on one side and a Teutonic or Maltese cross motif on the other. The interior contains a late 15th century coloured engraving of Ernst who I have been able to recognize from his Electors crown and his likeness to Cranach the Youngers portrait of him, shown above.
The dignity of elector carried great prestige and was considered to be second only to that of king or emperor. The electors held exclusive privileges that were not shared with other princes of the Empire, and they continued to hold their original titles alongside that of elector.
Ernst lived in Wittenberg and sadly died at the age of 46 when he fell off a horse.
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