Exhibitions/ Art Object

Letter P with the Legend of Saint Philip

ca. 1500–before 1506
Boxwood; later (18th century) embroidered silk pouch
Open: 2 13/16 × 3 7/8 × 1/4 in. (7.1 × 9.9 × 0.7 cm) Closed: 2 13/16 × 1 15/16 × 1/2 in. (7.1 × 5 × 1.2 cm) Open with tenon: 2 13/16 × 3 7/8 × 3/8 in. (7.1 × 9.9 × 1 cm) Pouch: 3 1/8 × 2 3/16 × 1/2 in. (7.9 × 5.5 × 1.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Cloisters Collection; Gift of Joseph W. Drexel, by exchange; Bequest of Fannie F. Einstein, in memory of Emanuel Einstein, by exchange; The Michel David-Weill Foundation, Caroline Howard Hyman, and The Ruddock Foundation for the Arts Gifts; and Bequest of Mrs. A. M. Minturn, Gift of Alice M. Dike, Bequest of Gwynne M. Andrews, and Fletcher Fund, by exchange, 2017
Accession Number:
2017.10a, b
Not on view
The letter P opens to reveal the seldom-told legend of Saint Philip, whose ministry included an encounter with pagan idols and the subjugation of a dragon with foul and deadly breath. It appears that this letter was conceived in tandem with Margaret of Austria's letter M (also in the exhibition) for her brother Philip the Handsome during his stay in the Netherlands, over which he ruled prior to his untimely death in Spain in 1506.
Belgian noble collection (since the18th century)
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