Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Tower Reliquary with Eight Apostles and the Symbols of the Four Evangelists

ca. 1200–1250
Made in Cologne, Germany
Ivory, gilt copper alloy, wood core
Overall: 9 3/16 x 5 1/2 in. (23.3 x 14 cm) base only: 6 1/8 x 5 1/2 in. (15.6 x 14 cm) Lid only: 3 3/8 x 5 1/2 in. (8.6 x 14 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.230a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
Inscriptions identify eight of Jesus’ apostles: Simon, Philip, Matthew, Andrew, Peter, John, James, and Paul. A large number of relics, often in the form of bone or textile fragments associated with a holy figure, were housed in such containers. In the 1200s, the city of Cologne became the primary center in Germany for the production of bone caskets made in a variety of shapes.
J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Breck, Joseph. "Pre-Gothic Ivories in the Pierpont Morgan Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., 15, no. 1 (January 1920). p. 16.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1925. p. 50.

Goldschmidt, Adolph. Die Elfenbeinskulpturen aus der romanischen Zeit, XI.-XIII. Jahrhundert. Vol. 4. Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1926. no. 305, p. 59, pl. LXXVII.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 50.

Hoffmann, Konrad, ed. The Year 1200: A Centennial Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970. no. 72, pp. 64-65.

Legner, Anton, ed. Ornamenta Ecclesiae: Kunst und Künstler der Romanik. Vol. 2. Cologne: Museum Schnütgen, 1985. no. F58, p. 417.

Miller, Markus, ed. Kölner Schatzbaukasten: Die Grosse Kölner Beinschnitzwerkstatt des 12. Jahrhunderts. Darmstadt: Hessisches Landesmuseum, 1997. no. 24, pp. 157–62, fig. 108–12.

Gaborit-Chopin, Danielle. Ivoires Médiévaux, Ve-XVe siècle. Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2003. pp. 254-56.

Jülich, Theo, ed. Die mittelalterlichen Elfenbeinarbeiten des Hessischen Landesmuseums Darmstadt. Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 2007. p. 166.

Wolters, Jochem. "Techniken und historische Merkmale des Braunfirnisses – eine Richtigstellung. Mit einem Gesamtkatalog historischer Braunfirnisarbeiten." Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz 57, no. 1 (2010). no. 131, p. 463.

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