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Reliquary of the Virgin and Saints
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Reliquary of the Virgin and Saints

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description This type of reliquary, sometimes called "bursa" or "purse-shaped," originated in Germany and Austria in the 13th century. On the back is a long inscription that lists all the relics once contained inside. In the Middle Ages, it was not unusual to combine many relics in one container, thereby increasing the number of saints who could potentially intercede to help answer the prayers of the faithful.
Date Description Narrative
12/31/1969Loan Considerationexamined for loan
1/01/1950Treatmentcleaned; coated
4/05/1979Examinationexamined for condition
6/16/1989Treatmentrepaired; stabilized
5/07/1996Loan Considerationexamined for loan
7/25/1996Treatmentcleaned; loss compensation
4/24/2006Examinationexamined for condition
3/03/2011Examinationexamined for loan
  • Zeit der Frühen Habsburger: Dome und Klöster, 1279-1379. Stift Klosterneuburg, Klosterneuburg. 1979.
  • Reliquaries and Ritual: Medieval Objects of Devotion. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Smith College Museum of Art Early Medieval Research. Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton. 1996.
  • The Art of Empathy: The Cummer Mother of Sorrows in Context. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville. 2013-2014.
Provenance Ernest Odiot, Paris; Sale, Chevalier & Mannheim, Paris, April 26-27, 1889, no. 62; Chabrières-Arles, Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Joseph Duveen, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henri Daguerre, Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1922, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] Inscribed on one long side panel of the reliquary: +DE.DENTE.S.BARTHOL.S. / PETRI.ET.PAVLI.THOME.ST / EPHI.PANTAL.M.ET.D'CAPUTE / XPOFORI.M.VNDECI.M.V.D.SE / PL'CRO.D.BNDCI.ABB'D'PSEPE. / D'.DE.CAPILL'.S.M.VIRG.DE. / VESTE.CORNELII.ET.ALIOR.SCR [Translation] [Relics] of the tooth of St. Bartholomew, Sts. Peter and Paul, Thomas, Stephen, Pantaleon, martyrs; and of the head of Christopher, martyr; the Eleven Thousand Virgins; of the sepulcher of the Lord; of Benedict, Abbot; of the cradle of the Lord; of the hair of the Blessed Virgin Mary; of the garment of Cornelius and of other saints.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1922

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late 13th century (Medieval)
gilded copper, mother of pearl, rubies (or spinels), rock crystal, turquoise, and unidentified gem stones
Accession Number
5 3/8 x 5 1/2 x 3 1/16 in. (13.6 x 14 x 7.8 cm)

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