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Reliquary of one of the Eleven Thousand Virgins

Unknown16th century (late)

Museu de São Roque

Museu de São Roque

Female bust of one of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, whose fame was widespread in the 16th century throughout the churches and missions of the Society of Jesus. The sculpture is in gilt wood, showing a fine head, with curled fair hair. The figure presents a dress richly elaborate on the chest. The relic is found inside a capsule protected by glass and the inscription “XI MILLE VIRG.”.

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  • Title: Reliquary of one of the Eleven Thousand Virgins
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 16th century (late)
  • Physical Dimensions: w50,4 x h87,5 cm x d33,5 cm (Total)
  • Provenance: Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa, Legacy of John of Borgia (1533-1606), son of St. Francis Borgia (1510-72), who was married twice, first to Lorenza de Oñas (grand-daughter of Ignatius Loyola's brother), and later to D.Francisca of Aragón y Barreto (or Portuguese origin). Later he was sent as ambassador of Philip II of Spain to the Imperial Court of Rudolf II of Saxony, in Prague. John of Borgia was able to assemble a first rare collection of relics from, among other places, Rome, Hungary, Bohemia and Cologne which he brought back to Escorial where he drew up a deed of gift to São Roque's Church in 1587. In return the grateful Jesuits decided to allow the donors - John and his wife as well as their descendants to be buried in the main chapel. The reliquaries at São Roque, most of them from John of Borgia, are of differente shapes, generally depending on the relic they house: arms, male and female torsos, urns, ostensories, chests.
  • Type: Sculture/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: Gilt wood, glass, metal
  • Manufactured: Portugal, Portugal

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