Arm Reliquary

Date: 13th century, with 15th century additions

Culture: French

Medium: Silver, silver-gilt, glass and rock crystal cabochons over wood core

Dimensions: Overall: 20 5/16 x 6 1/4 x 2 15/16in. (51.6 x 15.8 x 7.4cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Silver

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.353


Glistening silver, rock crystal, and glass gems enliven this reliquary in the form of an arm raised in a gesture of blessing. Emblematic of priestly authority, arm reliquaries were placed at the altar and also processed among the faithful. A parchment tag behind the rock crystal and an engraved cuff at the wrist indicate that the relics contained were of Saint Fiacre. The city of Meaux in France possessed the lion's share of his relics, but the provenance of this reliquary has not been confirmed.