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Liturgical Fan

German (Hildesheim)

Not on view

This openwork disk is one of three with central crosses that constitute a unique surviving ensemble of liturgical fans. Adorned with rock crystal and other gems, each is subtly differentiated by the foliate patterns of its pierced openwork and engraved designs. Liturgical fans were used ceremonially to fan the altar, but this heavy, gilded copper set may have served symbolic rather than functional purposes. It was long enshrined in the seventeenth-century retable (decorative altarpiece) behind Hildesheim Cathedral’s high altar.

Liturgical Fan, Gilded copper alloy, rock crystal, semiprecious stones, and ancient intaglios, German (Hildesheim)

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