National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

Tour: Medieval Metalwork and Enamels

Overview | Start Tour

image of Ciborium image of Morse with the Trinity
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Overview

Each of the object types on this tour originally served sacred purposes. The Chalice of Abbot Suger (1), the Spanish ciborium (7), and the dove-shaped pyx (6) were each associated with the celebration of the liturgy; the reliquary châsse (3) formed a miniature "tomb" for the relic of a saint; the morse (8) was a fastener for ecclesiastical garb; and the crucifix (2) served as an object of devotion that could be inserted into a staff for processional use. The two aquamanile (4, 5), or pitchers in animal or human forms, were used for either liturgical or secular handwashing.


Captions

1.
1French 12th Century (cup Alexandrian 2nd/1st Century B.C.), Chalice of the Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis, 2nd/1st century B.C. (cup); 1137-1140 (mounting)
2Probably Rhenish or Mosan 12th Century, Crucifix, c. 1150/1175
3French 12th Century, Reliquary Châsse, c. 1175/1180
4North French or Mosan 13th Century, Aquamanile in the Form of a Lion, c. 1200
5Probably English or Scandinavian 13th Century, Aquamanile in the Form of a Horseman, 13th century
6French 13th Century, Pyx in the Form of a Dove, c. 1220/1230
2.
7Spanish 14th Century, Ciborium, c. 1330/1350
8French 15th Century (setting western European late 19th Century), Morse with the Trinity, c. 1400/1410 (Trinity and Angels); 1884/1897 (setting)