Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Reliquary in the Shape of a Sarcophagus

Date:
400–600
Culture:
Byzantine
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
Overall: 5 5/8 x 7 7/16 x 3 7/8 in. (14.3 x 18.9 x 9.8 cm) Lid: 3 1/8 x 7 5/16 x 3 3/4 in. (7.9 x 18.6 x 9.6 cm) Bottom container: 2 15/16 x 7 7/16 x 3 7/8 in. (7.5 x 18.9 x 9.8 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Stone
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1949
Accession Number:
49.69.2a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
Holes in the lids of sarcophagus-shaped reliquaries, as seen here, allowed the faithful to insert cloth attached to narrow rods into the reliquary in order to absorb the power of the relic through contact. Alternatively, oil was poured through the hole and collected by means of a second hole in the base in containers brought by the faithful.
[ Brummer Gallery, Paris and New York (sold 1949)]; Joseph Brummer Collection sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York (June 8-9, 1949, no. 421A)
Weitzmann, Kurt, ed. Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979. no. 570, p. 632.

Neff, Amy. "Christianity." In Sacred Beauty: A Millennium of Religious Art, 600-1600. Knoxville: Frank H. McClung Museum, University of Tennessee, 2007. pp. 13-15.



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