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Reliquary-casket

Unknown16th century (last quarter)

Museu de São Roque

Museu de São Roque

Turtle shell box in the shape of an urn with engraved silver outfits decorated with ferronerries and naturalist motifs. The use of silver is reduced to the minimum, limited to the hinges and lock, which gives it a modern look. The piece shows a perfect technique of soldering the various turtle shell plates thus forming an homogenous and polished surface.
These “turtle boxes” were used to guard jewels and valuables, or in churches to protect saint’s relics, such as in the present example. Sometimes they were even used to preserve the Sacred Host on the Good Friday celebration.

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  • Title: Reliquary-casket
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 16th century (last quarter)
  • Physical Dimensions: w21 x h14 x d13 cm
  • Provenance: Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa, According to a document, it is one of the oldest Indian objects exported from India to Portugal, having been received in the Church of São Roque in Lisbon before 1588. It may have been offered to the Church of São Roque by a Jesuit or a benefactor who came from India
  • 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: Turtle shell and silver
  • Manufactured: India

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