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The First World War


Wooden guardian figure

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Holy Thorn reliquary
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THIS CHRISTIAN RELIQUARY was made to house a thorn from the Crown of Thorns, the wreath of thorns placed on the head of Christ at his crucifixion. Like the bones of the Buddha, the Holy Thorn was a very important and powerful religious relic.

A dramatic scene of the Last Judgement surrounds the relic. Around the outside are the twelve Apostles, with God the Father at the top. At the bottom, four angels sound trumpets as the dead emerge from their tombs. Behind the figure of God is a gold relief of the Holy Face on the Cloth of St Veronica, a fragment of which may have been held in the secondary compartment at the reverse. This is protected by two gold doors decorated with images of saints Christopher and Michael. It is thought the reliquary may be connected to Jean, Hue de Berry (1340-1416).

Holy Thorn reliquary

From Paris, c. AD 1400-10 lit 30.5 cm
Bequeathed by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild

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