Taking the form of a clothed lower arm with an outstretched hand, this reliquary from the Guelph Treasure appropriately enshrines a piece of an unidentified saint’s arm bone. Arm reliquaries like this one served as liturgical props; during religious services and processions, the clergy used them to bless and touch the faithful, thus making the presence of the saint more palpable and immediate. The apostle busts that decorate this arm reliquary seem to indicate that the relic it contains is that of an apostle. Duke Henry the Lion, a major patron of the church of Saint Blaise, is known to have received such relics from the Byzantine emperor Manuel I (1143-1180) upon his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
CMA, October 17, 2010 - January 17, 2011, Walters Art Museum February 13 - May 15, 2011, British Museum June 23 - October 9, 2011: "Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe," cat. no. 41.
Guelph Mus., Hanover. 1861-66
Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie, Vienna, 1869.
Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1930.
Goldschmidt Gall., New York, 1931, no. 30.
Stuttgart, Würtemburgisches Landesmuseum, Zeit der Staufer I; March-August 1977.
CMA, "All That Glitter" November, 1994 - January 8, 1995.
Braunschweig, Germany: Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, "Henry the Lion" 1995.
Bavarian Nationalmuseum, Munich (5/10/2007 - 9/16/2007), the J. Paul Getty Musuem, Los Angeles (10/30/2007 - 1/20/2008) and Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN (2/13/2009 - 6/7/2009): "Sacred Gifts and Worldly Treasures: Medieval Masterworks from the Cleveland Museum of Art"