Reliquary-casket of Saint Francis Xavier

Unknownca.1686 - 1690

Museu de São Roque

Museu de São Roque
Lisboa, Portugal

Reliquary of Saint Francis Xavier which looks like a temple, with rectangular sides framed by pilasters. The feet are flattened spheres with plain surfaces alternating with floral motifs. The side pilasters are topped by pyramidal pinnacles. The piece is crowned on top with an elegant baldachin surmounted by three pinnacles. The silver sheet faces are completely pierced.
All the side panels can be removed, revealing glass panes that make it possible to see the relics inside. These movable panels are completely decorated with multi-lobed reserves, forming chains of trellis work, with the central motifs consisting of birds, two-headed eagles, lions, deers, and other animals, in the Indian style. A major piece from the cult of Saint Francis Xavier, it is simultaneously one of the most important silver works made in Goa, which examplifies different aesthetic styles, only possible in such a culturally diversified centre, namely the capital city of the Portuguese State of India.


  • Title: Reliquary-casket of Saint Francis Xavier
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: ca.1686 - 1690
  • Physical Dimensions: w45 x h56 x d24 cm
  • Type: Reliquary
  • Rights: Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
  • External Link: Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
  • Medium: Silver, wood and glass
  • Provenance: Its first owner was D. Rodrigo da Costa, the governor of the Portuguese State of India, after which it passed successively through the hands of the Costa, Almeida and Castro families. From the mid-19th century onwards, it was kept in Lisbon at the home of the Counts of Nova Goa, before it was incorporated in the collections of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa/Museu de São Roque as a donation made by Teresa Maria de Mendia de Castro (Nova Goa)., Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
  • Manufactured: Goa, India

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