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About this object

  • ID:


  • Production date:

    Late Medieval; 14th century

  • Location:

    In Store

  • Ampulla in the shape of a scallop shell. Ampullae were small bottles that contained water that been associated with saintly relics – sometimes relics were dipped into the water to transfer some of their power. This water was thought to have powerful properties such as the ability to cure diseases and so ampullae were popular pilgrim souvenirs. The scallop shell was originally the emblem of St James the Greater who had a very popular shrine at Santiago de Compostela in Spain. From the 11th century, as pilgrims to Compostela brought back scallop-shaped souvenirs to their home countries, the scallop soon became a generic symbol for pilgrimage itself and for pilgrims. The small handles on ampullae like this one meant they could be worn round the neck or hung up at home to be used when needed.

  • Measurements

    H 39 mm; W 34 mm

  • Materials

    lead alloy

  • Last Updated





    permanent collection


    digital image copyright Museum of London

  • Related Group

    Medieval pilgrim souvenirs


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