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Chasse

Chasse

c. 1225-1250

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Copper: repoussé, engraved, stippled, and gilded; champlevé enamel; oak core

Overall: 24.7 x 24.2 x 10.4 cm (9 3/4 x 9 1/2 x 4 1/8 in.)

Gift of S. Livingstone Mather, Constance Mather Bishop, Philip R. Mather, Katherine Hoyt Cross, and Katherine Mather McLean in accordance with the wishes of Samuel Mather 1940.347.a

Description

A chasse is a container with a pyramid-shaped roof that once served as a shrine for sacred relics. During the medieval period, chasses like this one were placed on church altars during high feast days to allow the faithful to venerate their sacred contents. The chasse’s design and imagery follow a common formula with Christ’s Crucifixion and Majesty decorating the central fields of its principal face. The back consists of two panels with identical decoration. Each features three busts of angels inscribed in medallions. Of the chasse’s lateral sides, only one is preserved in its original state, decorated with the figure of an imposing angel emerging from a bank of clouds. Here, the dark blue enamel background shows an even greater variety of rosettes and other decorative motifs, all engraved, stippled, and gilded like the ones on the other sides

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