Portable Altar

ca. 1000
German (Hildesheim)
Silver, with niello and gilding, porphyry and unknown stone; wood core
Overall: 4 1/8 x 10 1/4 x 5 7/8 in. (10.5 x 26 x 15 cm)
Credit Line:
Dom-Museum Hildesheim (DS 26)
Not on view
Portable altars provided a consecrated table for celebrating the Eucharist beyond the walls of the church. The engraved scenes decorating this example include the Last Supper on its front and the Washing of Christ’s Feet on the back, both scenes featuring an orderly lineup of the Twelve Apostles that underscores the altar’s horizontality. On the two ends are the Meal at Emmaus and what is likely the Conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus.
Cathedral Treasury, Hildesheim (since ca. 1000); Dom-Museum Hildesheim Documentation: Victor Heinrich Elbern, Der Hildesheimer Domschatz (Hildesheim: Lax, 1969), no. 26; Michael Brandt and Arne Eggebrecht, eds., Bernward von Hildesheim und das Zeitalter der Ottonen: Katalog der Ausstellung, Hildesheim 1993 (Hildesheim: Bernward Verlag/Mainz: Ph. v. Zabern, 1993), vol. 2, pp. 478-479.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim," September 16, 2013–January 5, 2014.