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Reliquary Arm

Artist Culture
Wood and sheet gold
Made in
France, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 237
21 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (54.6 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Contact Us
Object Number
Some reliquaries contained actual relics, the material remains of a saint, no matter how tiny, while others held a strip of linen (called a brandea) that had touched a relic and was believed to have the same power. By the 12th century, these receptacles sometimes were given the form of the relic they contained. The conical chamber cut into the core of this arm reliquary once contained a bone fragment of a saint's arm. The fingers form a blessing gesture.
Hugo Collection, Paris, France [1]

- 1935
Leonardi Collection

1935 - 1949
Brummer Gallery, Inc. (Joseph Brummer, d.1947), New York, NY, USA, purchased from the Leonardi Collection [2]

1949 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased through R. Stora & Company, New York, at the sale of the Joseph Brummer Collection, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, May 11-14, 1949, lot no. 525 [3]

[1] According to the 1949 auction catalogue the object once belonged to the Hugo Collection of Paris, France ["Part II of the Notable Art Collection Belonging to the Estate of the Late Joseph Brummer," Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, May 11-14, 1949, lot no. 525, p. 126].

[2] According to the Brummer records housed at the Cloisters Library and Archives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, Brummer purchased the sculpture from "Leonardi" on July 11, 1935 [Brummer object number, P12015; e-mail from Michael K. Carter dated October 21, 2003, SLAM document files]. No other information was given by the Cloisters Library.

[3] In the 1949 auction catalogue, the sculpture is listed as being in the collection of the late Joseph Brummer. See note [1]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, October 6, 1949.
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