Copper alloy, cast, engraved, chased, punched, and gilded
Overall: 4 1/8 x 4 1/8 in. (10.5 x 10.5 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 1979
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14
The artist who produced this censer proudly inscribed his name, "Godefridus," over one of the arches. The censer bears witness to the technical, artistic, and symbolic sophistication lavished on objects, regardless of size, produced for the service of the medieval church. The architectural form may symbolize the heavenly city of Jerusalem, while the lunettes circling the base depict Old Testament events thought to foretell Christ's sacrifice. Such complicated imagery was standard in art produced in the Valley of the Meuse, an area now part of modern Belgium, in the 12th century.
Inscription: Above, on the arch: GODEFRIDVS FECIT TVRIBVLVN Godfredus has made the turibulum (censer)
Scene 1. ABEL OFFERT AGNV[M] Abel offers a lamb (Genesis 4:4)
Scene 2. IOSVE ET CALEP FER[VN]T BONTR[VM] Joshua and Caleb carry the grapes (Numbers 13:23)
Scene 3. [MO]YSES EXALTAT SERPENTE[M] Moses exalts the serpent (Numbers 21:9)
Scene 4. MELCHISEDEC PANEM Melchizedek [carries] the bread and wine (Genesis 14:18; Epistles to Hebrew 7:1-4)
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Westermann-Angerhausen, Hiltrud. "Zwei romanische Thuribula im Trierer Domschatz – und Überlegungen zu Theophilus und das Gozbert Rauchfass." Zeitschrift des Deutschen Vereins für Kunstwissenschaft 42, no. 2 (1988). p. 53 n. 26.
Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 76, pp. 63–64.
McLachlan Elizabeth Parker. "Liturgical Vessels and Implements." In The Liturgy of the Medieval Church, edited by Thomas J. Heffernan, and E. Ann Matter. Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Western Michigan University, 2005. pp. 410-411, fig. 11.
Barnet, Peter, and Pete Dandridge, ed. Lions, Dragons, & Other Beasts: Aquamanilia of the Middle Ages, Vessels for Church and Table. New York: Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, 2006. no. 44, p. 184.
Dandridge, Pete. "Exquisite Objects, Prodigious Technique: Aquamanilia, Vessels of the Middle Ages." In Lions, Dragons, & Other Beasts: Aquamanilia of the Middle Ages, Vessels for Church and Table, edited by Peter Barnet, and Pete Dandridge. New York: Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, 2006. no. 44, p. 51.