Dead hands (body symbol) in a turned wooden bowl from St. George, Wismar

14th/ 15th century, diameter: 27.5 cm

The two mummified right hands are symbols of the urban legal system, which had already been confirmed in Wismar in 1266 by the Mecklenburg ruler John. As judicial deposits they acted as evidence. Hands were severed from murder victims to require that the murderer appeared before the court. There is evidence of the custom in Mecklenburg from as early as 1238. Several cases were still mentioned in Wismar between 1501 and 1516. No such cut off hands from after the 16th century have been passed down.

Text: S. S.

The exhibit refers to:

Mecklenburg until 1945

Look here for the original exhibit:

Stadtgeschichtliches Museum der Hansestadt Wismar

Stadtgeschichtliches Museum der Hansestadt Wismar


Beguinenstraße 4
23966 Wismar