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Reliquary Box with Scenes from the Life of John the Baptist

Reliquary Box with Scenes from the Life of John the Baptist

1300s

Part of a set. See all set records

Tempera and gold on wood

Overall: 9 x 23.5 x 9 cm (3 9/16 x 9 1/4 x 3 9/16 in.)

Gift of Bruce Ferrini in memory of Robert P. Bergman 1999.229.a

Description

John the Baptist--the first person to recognize Christ as the promised savior and the one who baptized him in the Jordan River--was one of the Byzantine Empire’s most revered saints. This box shows four scenes from the saint’s life: John’s martyrdom, Christ’s baptism, John’s birth, and the announcement of his birth to his parents. It probably once housed one of the saint’s relics; several were kept in churches and monasteries in Constantinople, including fragments of his skull and right arm and locks of his blood-clotted hair.

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