Knife handle in the shape of a female figure

Gender and sexuality

This 14th-century piece, found in the neighbourhood of El Carmen, challenges the imagination with questions regarding its use and the meanings hidden within its iconography. Throughout the 13th century, the story of the young woman it represents, the Châtelaine of Vergy, was sung in the courts of Europe, immortalizing a love that was tragic yet very human in its erotic dimensions. However, in the 16th-century work by Marguerite de Navarre, we find that the story has already been transformed: here the lovers engage in sublimated feelings that scale the heights of platonic love, while the female antagonist has taken on the monstrous characteristics of a femme fatale. These changes have motivated us to propose a collective rereading with the participation of museum visitors, inviting them to reconsider the work’s transformation and reconstruct it, questioning the gender roles and use of language to express emotion in its many aspects.