Reliquary Bust of St. Baudime
I think more than any other object, this is an object that still kind of has an aura of power that surrounds it, Mann says. The factual recreation of St. Baudimes face and body made of a walnut core and gilded in copper looks like the bust is glimmering and glistening, Mann explains. The sculpture is nearly life-size, so Baudimes eyes seem to stare back at you. Its a riveting experience to stare at [a statue] the same height as you and look directly into his face.
Reliquary Box with Stones from the Holy Land
In the sixth century, pilgrims traveled to the Holy Land in the hopes of collecting relics from Christs original path. It was one of the earliest forms of souvenir collecting, Mann says. This wooden box is painted with five scenes from Christs life: the Nativity, Christs baptism, his Crucifixion, the holy women at the tomb, and the Ascension. Mann is amazed that the piece has survived through the centuries. Its such a unique object. Theres nothing else like it. Its from a very, very early time in medieval history.
Portable Altar of Countess Gertrude
In the Middle Ages, church Mass was oftentimes taken on the road. But in order to perform a legal service, church leaders needed a portable altar that contained official relics, consecrated by the bishop. Its one of several [church objects] produced by a female patron, Mann says. It shows the importance of women as patrons in the foundation of the church institution.
Head of St. Eustace
Although it looks solid from the outside, the Head of St. Eustace is actually hollowed out inside, Mann says. Its believed to contain actual skull fragments from the real St. Eustaces corpse. This is an important piece, Mann says, because it helps explain a change in Christian thinking. For many centuries Christians were weary of 3-D sculptures because of their connotations with idolatry, he says. But in the years 1000 to 1100 in Western Europe, people wanted to create suitable vessels for their relics.
Set of Reliquary Boxes
Just like Russian nesting dolls, these reliquary boxes are three different containers, hidden inside one another. The third golden box protects a finger bone, a fragment from a shoulder blade and a small piece of wood. The boxes are beautiful and fascinating, Mann says. Works of art in themselves.