Reliquary in Purse Form

Reliquary in Purse Form

c. 1320

Copper, gilded and engraved; glass; rock crystal; precious stones; wood core

Overall: 17.2 x 13.4 x 7.7 cm (6 3/4 x 5 1/4 x 3 1/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1932.422


This precious reliquary, adorned on its front and sides with colored glass, precious stones, and two medallions featuring the enthroned Virgin and Child and an eagle, forms part of a group of closely related objects manufactured in the Upper Rhine region shortly after 1300. The purse shape, with its peaked roof and cylindrical top, derives from much earlier Carolingian and Romanesque prototypes. The reliquary was originally suspended from the rings on both sides of the sloping roof.

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