Reliquary Pendant with Queen Margaret of Sicily Blessed by Bishop Reginald of Bath

Date: 1174–77

Geography: Made in Canterbury, England

Culture: British

Medium: Gold

Dimensions: Overall: 1 15/16 x 1 1/4 x 1/4 in. (5 x 3.1 x 0.7 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Gold

Credit Line: Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1961

Accession Number: 63.160


Within a decade of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, Bishop Reginald of Bath presented this small pendant, which then contained minute relics of the saint's bloodied vestments, to Queen Margaret of Sicily. The relics, probably once covered by a crystal, have since disappeared, but the inscription and image of Reginald and Margaret on the back convey the pendant's original use. Even though the precise circumstances of the gift remain unknown, the pendant attests to the importance of relics and reliquaries in the political and social commerce of the Middle Ages.