Eye of the Law
Wooden judge’s staff from Neuss

ca. 1800
Wood, carved, colored
Height: 155 cm
Inventory Number
Old inventory

In the autumn of 1794 French Revolutionary troops took the areas of the German Reich west of the Rhine, including Neuss in the Electorate of Cologne. In 1797 the Rhineland officially was made a part of the French Republic. French rule led to significant changes in Neuss: In 1802 all church corporations and estates were secularized and their property was seized by the state. In 1804 the Napoleonic Code was introduced as the region’s civil law. When French troops pulled out after the 1813 Battle of the Nations, Neuss’s French period came to an end. The staff with the wide open eye is a legal symbol from the time of the French occupation. The eye staff was probably used between 1800 and 1813 when a local court exists in Neuss. According to historical tradition the justice of the peace had an eye staff to symbolize the metaphor of the all-seeing Eye of the Law. It was most likely carried by helpers as the judge entered the courtroom.

Or follow us on our social media channels.