Showing posts from June, 2019

Hand Reliquary

< Table of Contents For many reasons, I was probably not destined for the religious life. Not the least of these is that on hearing of the passing of a pious and respected elder, my first response isn’t ‘Where did I put that saw?’ However, there is a long tradition in Christianity of chopping off bits of departed clerics to preserve as relics. And when it comes to reliquaries, you’ve just got to hand it to this example! The saintly bits and bobs are long gone, but the reliquary itself survives in amazing condition, even if it was originally intended to be a full arm, rather than just the hand. It was made in the second half of the 13th century, possibly in Belgium. The relics would have been visible through the little ‘windows’ on the fingers. Initially, I thought that these were intended to simulate large, ornamental bezels and stones of finger rings, but their hoops are not continued on the palm side of the hand. This is in contrast to the delicate ring encir

Three Saints

< Table of Contents This portion of a relief depicts Saints Philip, Jude, and Bartholomew. It was made around 1150 to adorn the western face of the Cathedral of St Peter in Vic, in Catalonia. The first number of times I saw this piece, I merely noted three identical individuals – barefooted, big-handed, and haloed. It was only after some closer attention I realised that each of the three are subtly different, with individualised hair, beards, and clothing. So the viewer (and presumably the apostles themselves) can tell them apart, their names are visible on the books they hold.

Co Donegal: Archaeological Objects at The British Museum

The British Museum holds 18 items identified as coming from Co Donegal, along with one further item identified as coming from either Antrim or Donegal. The majority of these (6) are assigned to the Neolithic/Bronze Age, followed by the Early Medieval (5), and Bronze Age (4) periods. The most common object types are axes, bell-shrines, knives, knives(?)/blades(?), and pins (2 each). Only two material types are represented in this assemblage: Metal (12) and Stone (7). < Table of Contents Neolithic/Bronze Age: Stone items Donegal axe 18900215.100 Polished stone axe, large Letterkenny axe 19890301.143 Polished stone axe with slightly damaged rounded butt. Glenhead knife (?); blade (?) 19641206.217 Flint knife or backed