An armored knight on a charging white horse, holding a silver sword above his head, is the official state emblem of Lithuania. Dating back to at least 1366 and originally meant to depict the country’s ruler, the knight came to symbolize a riding hero, chasing intruders from the land. Called the “Vytis”, it continued as a state emblem for Lithuania until the country was occupied by the Soviet Union during World War II. During Soviet rule, the Vytis was banned and its use was punishable by prison or deportation. It became a national symbol again during the struggle for independence in the late 1980s.
This stained glass work was created by Adolfas Valeška (1905-1994) in 1969 and acquired by the Balzekas Museum several years later. Valeška was a stained glass artist, painter, stage designer, and museum director who worked in Lithuania and Chicago, Illinois.