Plaster of Paris sculpture moquette of a traditional symbol of Ghent in Belgium, a "Noose Bearer" (A stropdrager in Flemish), by artist Chris de Mangel (b.1938). In a late 19th century bell jar. Sculpture is signed by the artist and dated 1987.
This model is a signed prototype or mock up for the bronze statue erected in 1989 in the square Prinsenhofplein in Ghent, Belgium. It can still be seen there today.
The statue symbolizes the city - and all those who refuse to pay taxes for foreign wars since 1539. In perpetual defiance, the bronze faces the ruins of Charles V's birthplace.
When King Charles V of what was then the Spanish Netherlands decided to wage yet another war - a proxy war against France in Italy - the Dutch province of Ghent refused to pay. They would not support yet another round of bloody and useless battles for the glory of a hegemon who seemed to be seeking a universal monarchy.
To support their cause, the people of Ghent appealed to Charles V's main enemy, François I of France (and his powerful Florentine wife Marie de Medici). For this seditious act, Ghent was forced to beg forgiveness of the king. Many citizens were hanged. All who were sent to death by hanging were supposed to be shamed by wearing the noose, but they held their heads high instead.
In remembrance of their rebellion, citizens of Ghent hold a memorial procession - an ommengang - through the streets of the city each summer at the Ghent Festival. All wear white undershirts and nooses like the man depicted here. Yes, a style of beer comes from this procession, too. Gentenaars (inhabitants of Ghent) named their local beer after the occasion - Gentse Strop (link HERE). And citizens there are also nicknamed "stroppendragers" or "noose-wearers."
The sculpture measures 14 1/2 x 3 1/8 inches and weighs 2 lbs. 6 3/4 oz. The bell jar measures 20 x 9 7/8 inches and weighs 3 lbs.