Jan 19, 2005

Bust of Prophet Philo II

Bust of Prophet Philo II

c. 1380–90

Silver, partially gilded, chased, cast, engraved; rock crystal, relics

Overall: 20.4 x 21 x 14.5 cm (8 1/16 x 8 1/4 x 5 11/16 in.)


Did you know?

Relics are the bodily remains of a saint or holy person, physical pieces of a hallowed site, or an object that has come into contact with the saint.


The furrowed brow grants a lifelike quality to a representation of the Jewish-Hellenistic philosopher Philo of Alexandria, whose teachings were embraced by Christian theologians. At the center of Philo’s chest is a piece of rock crystal that acts as a window through which devotees could view relics belonging to Saints Walpurga and Vincent. Although one might expect to see relics belonging to Philo, it was common practice for parts of multiple saints to be kept inside of such objects. As the physical handling of relics was reserved for a select few, sight was the primary means of accessing the divine.

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