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Article

Alexander Nagel

An image-bearing structure set on the rear part of the altar (see Altar, §II), abutting the back of the altarblock, or set behind the altar in such a way as to be visually joined with the altar when viewed from a distance. It is also sometimes called a ...

Article

John N. Lupia

Type of ewer, usually of metal, used for the washing of hands in a liturgical or domestic context. It is often zoomorphic in form and usually has two openings, one for filling with water and the other for pouring. In their original usage aquamanilia expressed the symbolic significance of the lavabo, the ritual washing of the hands by the priest before vesting, before the consecration of the Eucharist and after mass. The earliest production of ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Metal or faience vessel, normally mounted on a wall, used to hold holy water.

Article

Gordon Campbell

Sicilian goldsmith. His early work is Gothic, notably a magnificent processional monstrance with Gothic spires (1536–8; Enna, Mus. Alessi) and a reliquary of S Agata (1532; Palermo Cathedral). From the 1540s he adopted a Renaissance style, as exemplified by a crozier (Palermo, Gal. Reg. Sicilia) and a reliquary of S Cristina (Palermo Cathedral)....

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

Golden branches of roses, some embellished with jewels, symbolizing Christ’s love and Passion, given on rare occasions to persons and places specially favoured by the Pope for services to the Church. Most popes have given no more than four or five during their pontificate and some none at all. The earliest documented example is that granted to ...

Article

Kinga Szczepkowska-Naliwajek, John N. Lupia and Helen Loveday

Receptacle for the preservation of relics, principally the physical remains (Lat. reliquiae) of a holy person or an object of particular veneration. The practice is most prevalent in Christianity (see Cult of relics) (although it has been rejected by Protestant denominations) and Buddhism (...

Article

John Williams

Spanish silver reliquary (813×330×445 mm; León, Mus.–Bib. Real Colegiata S Isidoro) made for the relics of St Isidore, which arrived from Seville in December of 1063 as a result of King Ferdinand I’s subjection of the Muslim city. They were placed in a wooden chest covered with silver gilt and lined with silk fabrics of Islamic origin and deposited in the Treasury of S Isidoro, León. No previous Hispanic shrine of comparable size, technique, or iconography is known. In ...

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

William M. Voelkle

Portable altar–reliquary (New York, Morgan Lib.), made c. 1156 for the Stavelot Abbey in the Ardennes, Belgium and decorated with both Mosan and Byzantine enamels (see fig.). The reliquary is named after the Benedictine abbey headed by Wibald of Stavelot, its enlightened abbot from ...

Article

Michael Ellul

Maltese family of bronze-founders. Originally from Haute Provence, they arrived in Malta in 1530 with the Order of St John of the Knights Hospitaller. Between 1700 and 1798 the family was responsible for the Order’s foundry in Valletta. The first family member recorded working in Malta was ...