On loan to The Met The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.
Reliquary of Saint Oswald
German (Hildesheim) or possibly British
Not on view
This magnificent reliquary was made to house, and still contains, the skull of Saint Oswald, a seventh-century king of Northumbria. It is distinguished by accomplished work in niello (a black alloy of sulfur and metal that is fused by heat to engraved metal surfaces), with sure draftsmanship in the drapery, hair, and backgrounds. Beneath the portraits of eight monarchs, including Oswald, an inscription refers to God’s crowning of kings. The ill-fitting diadem is a later addition.