Reliquary casket of St. Francis Xavier, detail

17th century

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 St. Francis Xavier, detail
  • Date Created: 17th century
  • Medium: silver, wood and glass
  • Production: India, Goa

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