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(rĕl'əkwĕr`ē), receptacle containing the relics of saints and other sacred objects of the Christian religion. Reliquaries were often designed in shapes that reflected the nature of their contents, such as hands, shoes, buildings, and heads. They were richly decorated with gold, silver, enamel, and jewels.



a repository for relics, characteristic mainly of the Christian cult.

Reliquaries, known since the third century, were especially widespread in Western Europe and to a lesser degree in Byzantium and ancient Rus’. They could be of the most varying forms, from tiny coffers to large shrines. Reliquaries were made of precious metals, ivory, or wood, and were executed by casting or carving. They were decorated with precious stones, pictures, and ornaments.


Braun, J. Die Reliquiare des christlichen Kultes und ihre Entwicklung. Freiburg im Breisgau, 1940.


a receptacle or repository for relics, esp relics of saints
References in periodicals archive ?
The exhibit centers on a database of 2,000 Kota reliquaries that Belgian researcher and computer engineer Frederic Cloth developed.
A heart-shaped reliquaries with what appears to be a winged saint and a king
This is vividly illustrated in one of the earliest reliquaries ever made in the form of a body-part, the arm reliquary of St.
28) On April 20, 1903, Satolli wrote to Rampolla to alert him of the great quantity of reliquaries and relics that had been found and to request permission from the pope for a more accurate examination of the objects.
I had trouble with one of my spoof reliquaries on my very first appearance on Late Night Line Up with Joan Bakewell.
The unique vessels used in this practice have inspired me to make these containers, known collectively as reliquaries, the focus of my art practice.
Cornelison probes the "miraculous power" of St Zenobius's relics and reliquaries, in "When an Image Is a Relic: The Saint Zenobius Panel from Florence Cathedral," relating them to the Maestro del Bigallo's altar frontal and the decoration of the Saint Zenobius chapel.
They provide a sampling of current scholarship on metal for secular display, metal reliquaries and liturgical objects, metals for everyday use in war and peace, metal in Medieval architecture, and Late Medieval writings on metal production.
Reliquaries by Eric Pankey, Ausable Press, 2005, $14.
Around them in small communities scattered through the dense rainforests were more than forty ethnic groups that made similar reliquaries of their venerable ancestors.
The relics were enclosed in precious alabaster reliquaries.
These works are combined with special displays created from the museum's extensive collection of objects, some previously unseen, including mourning jewellery, reliquaries, funeral bills and execution plates.