So, if you have been on the webbernet over the last few days, you have no doubt seen a story about jewelled saints’ skeletons sent by the Pope to bolster Catholicism in Germany. And they look pretty amazing!
Of course, these are far from the only completely mental medieval reliquaries; they’re just articulated and therefore mess with our sense of propriety somehow. But viewed with the correct perspective, many other medieval forms of venerating a saint are also unbelievably fucked-looking.
Bling all the hell over the place is just what a proper medieval church looks like. Consider if you will the hanging crown or votive crown. Kings would offer these to churches as offerings of thanks or demonstrations of favour or whatever. The best ones are from Spain, part of the Treasure of Guarrazar. They are amazing. I was going to say they were gorgeous, but by most modern aesthetic standards they’re actually hideous. Just vulgar as hell. But they’re gloriously vulgar.
Encrusted with sapphires and all hanging with gold and shit, this is the crown of king Recceswinth, a Visigothic Spanish ruler. The hanging letters read RECCESVINTUS REX OFFERET. Actually, it says ECCESVINTUS, one of the Rs having fallen off at some point since the Dark Ages, but whatever. You get the idea.
But reliquaries aren’t just for the middle ages. There are also some modern artists doing examples of the form that are baller as hell. This is Al Farrow’s “Reliquary for the Extended Family”.
I want one. You know, for my mantelpiece. Except my mantelpiece is already covered in toy robots.