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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 ?
Alisa LaGamma, the Met's African art curator who, in 2007, curated "Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary" and curated the Kongo exhibit, insisted in a phone interview that the sculpture isn't a reliquary.
The silver reliquary has no hallmark, because Catholic craftsmen at the time kept a low profile, but has been dated to the time of the Plot while the eyeball has been studied by a surgeon.
A mystery: This silver box, likely a Catholic reliquary, contains bone fragments.
The monastery and the inscription, depicting the fact that reliquary of St.
Church custodian Franca Corrieri said she found a broken window early on Sunday and when police entered the building they found the gold reliquary and a crucifix was missing.
The police found out a gold reliquary, as well as a crucifix, was missing.
Both the reliquary and cinema play on the idea of the signifier standing in for the missing body (a bone fragment for the bodily saint; a star's close-up for the flesh and blood actor).
Topkapy Palace is also home to a casket containing soil from the tomb of the Prophet, a reliquary thought to contain one of his teeth (Dendan-y Saadet) and locks from the Kaaba.
In relation to his examination of a gemmed cross reliquary that supposedly once contained the circumcised foreskin of Christ, Grisar noted that relics are not infallible and errors relating to the accuracy of specific objects can occur and be repeated over time; such involuntary mistakes should not, however, discredit the general authority of the Church.
Even the somewhat later and more naturalistic Bohemian silver-gilt Reliquary with the Man of Sorrows (4347-49), from the Waiters' permanent collection, could be said to mediate between the earthly environment of the viewer and the sacred realm of the True Cross (as Jesus's own crucifix is known), fragments of which were believed to have been deposited inside the central figure, although none remains extant.
These exhibits include the sacred tooth relics of Lord Buddha, Kanishka Relic Casket from Shah-Ji-Ki-Dheri, stone reliquary in stupa shape and a golden Casket.
Yesterday during the Mass, Benedict received a silver reliquary holding a vial of blood taken from John Paul during his final hospitalisation.