Small, white plaster of paris statuette of a Stropdrager, Flemish for a "Noose Bearer," from Ghent in Belgium. Signed by the sculptor Chris De Mangel (b. 1938), who erected a large public statue exactly like this piece in Ghent in 1987. Rough plaster of paris from a mold, with head, arms, and hands painted peach flesh color.
This statuette is most likely a signed prototype by the artist from the mid 1980s, before the life size bronze statue was cast and placed in the square Prinsenhofplein in Ghent.
We have placed this statuette in an antique bell jar, also from Belgium. This tall bell jar or cloche is from the mid to late 19th century. We find that it works to juxtapose old and new Belgium with the statuette and the bell jar.
***Statuette and bell jar are sold together at the price quoted here. Ask us if you would like to buy either separately. We have dozens more antique bell jars, too!***
The statuette measures 14 1/2 x 3 1/8 x 3 inches and weighs 2 lbs. 6 3/4 oz. Bell jar measures 20 x 9 7/8 inches and weighs 3 lbs.
History of the shocking and unusual Stropdrager:
The "Stropdrager" or "Noose Bearer" is the symbol of the city of Ghent, Belgium - and of those who have refused to pay taxes for foreign wars since 1539. In perpetual defiance, this statue faces the ruins of Charles V's birthplace.
The King of Spain (and of the Spanish Netherlands) Charles V decided to wage yet another war - again a proxy war against France - in Italy. The Dutch province of Ghent refused to pay the King for yet another round of bloody and useless battles for the glory of a hegemon who was seemingly in search of a global monarchy.
To get support for their cause, the leaders of Ghent sought help from THE enemy, the King of France François I - and his powerful Florentine wife Marie de Medici. For this seditious act, Ghent was forced to beg Charles V for forgiveness.
All were supposed to be shamed by seeing their so-called traitorous leaders led to be publicly hanged, but the men wore the noose down the streets of Ghent with their heads held high instead.
Each summer at the Gent Festival there is a memorial procession, called "ommengang," where citizens wear white undershirts and nooses down the streets. Yes, there is indeed a local beer is named after this annual procession: Gentenaars (the inhabitants of Ghent) named named a beer "Gentse Strop" (link HERE). And citizens there are also nicknamed "stroppendragers" or "noose-wearers."