CONTINENTAL SILVER RELIQUARY BOX
Late 17th Century
The sarcophagus-shaped box with hinged cover having a rotating latch closure to the side and applied dependent ring to the top, the cover engraved & chased with a central blooming lily* and buds on a stem,
within a rocaille border, a shell at the base; the verso centering a book (probably a Bible) between to lilies*
within a rocaille border as the above; the sides with cast rope decoration; unmarked
*The lily (stylized as a fleur de lis) has long been a Christian symbol for both the Trinity (3 petals).
and for the Virgin Mary
“Reliquaries” are containers for precious relics, usually of a religious nature –
these relics being considered
"more valuable than precious stones and more to be esteemed than gold".
Such was their importance that during times of religious and political strife,
Medieval reliquaries were subject to widespread destruction.
"Those that survive bear precious witness to exceptional artistic creativity inspired by contemporary faith."
Condition : Very good to excellent, particularly for age, with appropriate small dents and scratches;
a small solder repair to the rope decoration;
several small indentations on the edges and joints; some stubborn tarnish
2" Long / 0.7 oz
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M. Ford Creech Antiques & Fine Arts / 581 South Perkins Road / Memphis, TN 38117 / USA / Wed.-Sat. 11-6, or by appointment