Bust reliquaries for the skulls of saints were placed on or near altars and, by the late Middle Ages, often assembled in large numbers in church sanctuaries. The small glazed medallion resembling jewelry once displayed additional relics. On particular feast days, such reliquaries were carried in processions.
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Title:Reliquary Bust of a Female Saint
Geography:Made in possibly Brussels, Belgium
Medium:Oak, paint, gilt
Dimensions:Overall: 16 11/16 x 12 3/4 x 6 1/4 in. (42.4 x 32.4 x 15.9 cm)
Credit Line:The Cloisters Collection, 1959
[ Henry Hirsch, London (Sale, Christies, June 10-11, 1931)] ; [ Henri Heilbronner, Lucerne (from at least 1955–sold 1959)]
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. "Hair," June 10–August 17, 1980.
Cleveland. Cleveland Museum of Art. "Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe," October 17, 2010–January 17, 2011.
Baltimore. Walters Art Museum. "Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe," February 13, 2011–May 15, 2011.
London. British Museum. "Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe," June 23, 2011–October 9, 2011.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cranach's Saint Maurice," April 20–July 27, 2015.
Museum Leuven. "Borman & Sons," September 20, 2019–January 26, 2020.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighty-Ninth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1958-1959." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 18, no. 2 (October 1959). p. 58.
"Chronache: New York." Emporium 136 (1962). pp. 121–22.
Rorimer, James J. The Cloisters: The Building and the Collection of Medieval Art in Fort Tryon Park. 3rd revised ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1963. p. 184, fig. 91.
Krohm, Hartmut. Spätmittelalterliche Bildwerke aus Brabant: Figuren heiliger Frauen von einer Grablegung Christi. Berlin: Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 1976. pp. 32–33.
Hair: Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Design, June 10 to August 17, 1980. Washington, DC: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, 1980. p. 10.
Wixom, William D. "Medieval Sculpture at The Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 46, no. 3 (Winter 1988-1989). p. 41.
Boehm, Barbara Drake. "Body-Part Reliquaries: The State of Research." Gesta 36, no. 1 (1997). p. 11.
Little, Charles T., ed. Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture. New York, New Haven, and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. p. 190.
Bagnoli, Martina, Holger A. Klein, C. Griffith Mann, and James Robinson, ed. Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe. Cleveland, Baltimore, and London: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2010. no. 108, p. 195.
Lefftz, Michel. "The Creative Identity of the Bormans: A Stylistic Approach." In Borman: A Family of Northern Renaissance Sculptors, edited by Marjan Debaene. Leuven: Museum Leuven, 2019. no. 174, p. 90.
Debaene, Marjan, ed. Borman: A Family of Northern Renaissance Sculptors. Leuven: Museum Leuven, 2019. no. 174, p. 246, ill. cover.
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