Saturday, April 29, 2017

Holy Thorn Reliquary

We just learned about the Casket with Scenes of Romances.

Another Gothic art sculpture is the Holy Thorn Reliquary.

In the year 1239 AD, King Louis IX of France bought what he believed was the crown of thorns that Jesus wore on the cross.
Through the years later, the other Kings of France would give thorns from that crown as gifts to people.

One of the thorns that was sent out around 1400 AD was put into a special holder called a reliquary, made of gold, enamel and jewels.
This reliquary is about a foot tall, and weighs about 3 pounds.

The thorn is in a case behind a crystal window, and there are gold and enamel sculptures all around it, with jewels like sapphires decorating it.
The way the enamel sculptures are made is called ronde-boss, which means "in the round".
Enamel is shaped over top of gold or other metal sculptures, to look like a real rounded figure instead of just flat enamel.

The front is a sculpture of the Last Judgement, and shows God, some angels, a Dove for the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ with a crown of thorns, John the Baptist, the Virgin Marry, and smaller sculptures of the twelve apostles.

There is a scroll above it with the Latin words "Ista est una spinea corone / Domini nostri ihesu xpisti" which means "This is a thorn from the crown / Of Our Lord Jesus Christ"

On the back is a medallion with the face of Christ in a sunburst, above two doors.
On the left door is the archangel Saint Michael, spearing the devil, shown as a dragon.
On the right door is Saint Christopher, carrying Christ as a small child on his shoulders.

(from: wikipedia - holy thorn reliquary)

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