October 6, 2002 6:52 AM Subscribe
Reliquaries are containers built to hold objects of special religious significance, such as the foot of a saint, or the skull of a king. The art of European reliquary making reached it's zenith in the Middle Ages when craftsman created fantastic objets d'art for cathedrals and monasteries in the form of caskets, bodily appendages, and freestanding holders built to visually display occasionally gruesome bits of the venerated individual. The layperson had access to reliquaries as well, typically in the form of small lead crosses worn around the neck, containing pieces of bone or one of the ubiquitous fragments of the True Cross. Reliquaries are not unique to the Christianity, but can also be found in Buddhist and Islamic tradition.
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