Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Arm Reliquary

13th century, with 15th century additions
Silver, silver-gilt, glass and rock crystal cabochons over wood core
Overall: 20 5/16 x 6 1/4 x 2 15/16in. (51.6 x 15.8 x 7.4cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
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.
Inscription: Tag inside the top crystal identifying the relic as "Fiacr"; gilded copper wristband also inscribed with saint's name.
Georges Hoentschel (French, Paris 1855–1915 Paris)(until 1911); J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (about 1911–1913); Estate of J. Pierpont Morgan(1913–1917)
Pératé, André. Collections Georges Hoentschel: Ivoires, orfèvrerie religieuse, pierres. Vol. 2. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1911. no. 7, fig. VII.

Hahn, Cynthia, ed. Objects of Devotion and Desire: Medieval Relic to Contemporary Art. New York: Hunter College Art Galleries, 2011. no. 7, pp. 11, 13, 22, 32, 34, 36-37, 73.

Krohn, Deborah L., Ulrich Leben, and Daniëlle O. Kisluk-Grosheide, ed. Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, 2013. no. 129, p.166.

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