Baptismal Font

South Netherlandish

On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 02

This large font is central to the legend of a holy woman named Christina (1150–1224), whose story was recorded by Thomas of Cantimpré, a famous thirteenth-century Dominican author. Troubled by an evil spirit as she passed the village church in Wellen, Christina reputedly jumped into this font. She emerged from the water having achieved newfound exemplary behavior and thereafter was known as Christina the Astonishing. Stone baptismal fonts from the Meuse Valley were exported throughout northern Europe. The four projecting heads on this example, each slightly different from the other, probably represent the Four Rivers of Paradise.

Baptismal Font, Dark calciferous limestone, South Netherlandish

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