About this object
Late Medieval; mid 15th century
This crushed circular brass box is a pilgrim souvenir from Rome in the form of a reliquary. One side of the box is made from a vernicle, a souvenir of the Veronica in Rome (the Veronica was the veil of St Veronica). Veronica had been moved to pity by the sight of Christ carrying his cross and gave him her veil to wipe his forehead. When he gave it back to her, the image of his face had been miraculously impressed on it. The veil was kept at St Peter’s basilica where it was periodically displayed. By the 14th century it was displayed every Sunday and became Rome’s chief attraction. The vernicle depicts the face of Christ with the legend: 'Salve san[c]te facies nostris rede[m]ptori[s]' (meaning 'Hail, the holy face of our redeemer') around it: the first line of a popular prayer composed in c.1330. The other side of the box is stamped with an image of the Agnus Dei, a common emblem of Jesus Christ. The word DEI is visible in the legend, which is probably ‘ECCE AGNUS DEI’ (meaning ‘Behold the Lamb of God’). The lamb stands with a cross-shafted banner. The box has a suspension loop made from brass wire with a finer wire twisted around it. It presumably once contained a holy relic of some kind but the contents are missing.
DM 35 mm
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