18th-century Flemish oak carving showing the trophies of war, including a shield and a pair of arrows. The sides are decorated with dogtooth carving.
The Greeks traditionally hung the weapons and shields of those they had defeated on the trees of the battlefield. During the Renaissance such trophies were used as a decorative feature in carving and painting on furniture and interiors. The tradition spread to include set pieces of musical instruments (Grinling Gibbons at Petworth House), hunting trophies, and symbols of art and architecture as well as science.