This reliquary originates from the same convent or monastery as another in our inventory (C143: the case is identical, the intention and lithograph different). The intention of this reliquary reads, " Le souvenir de notre patrie soutient notre esperance" (the memory of our homeland holds our expectation and hope". This reliquary was part of a large collection in Burgundy. It dates towards 1860.
The small, hand-sized reliquary was known as a travel reliquary as they could be easily packed for a long or short voyage. This type of reliquary is specific to the convents and monasteries of France.
The outer box is made of hard paper board. It has been covered with beautiful fabric and edged with gilt metal braid. Paper board sides contain the edges for the central design; this oval frame is covered in creme colored silk. The paperolle design is placed under a thick piece of glass, giving a "window" effect. There is a velour braid trim surrounding the glass (one section has lifted up....we chose to leave the decision to the final owner in regards to the use of modern glue it or leaving it as is). The original ribbon is at the top center; this would have been used for hanging from a stand or nail on the wall.
The central lithograph is unusual as it depicts the sacred hearts of the Madonna and of Jesus with a large anchor just to the left side. The all-seeing Eye of God radiates cascades heavenly light upon the two sacred hearts. The symbolism is rich in this tiny vignette, reminding the viewer of the strength and steady hand of God viewed through the sacrifice and love of Christ and the Madonna. The lithograph is framed by folded paper in an accordion pattern. Surrounding the medallion are paper scrolls and hearts (which have gilt edging. There is a paperolle rose at the top center with the tiniest red paperolle center. The intention is framed by a paperolle frame in an accordion form The paper designs are so light and ethereal that they seem to float within the space surrounding the intention.
The box measures: 4 3/4" x 3 1/8", 1/2" thick. The central medallion measures 1 3/8" x 1". It is in very good antique condition considering it's fragility and advanced age. The silk has darkened and holds some light stains. The ribbon has the lovely patina of time. The paperless design is intact. The glass is solid with no cracks or chips. The lithograph medallion retains the original rich hues. The fabric on the back is in remarkable condition.
This is a precious object of individual devotion from nineteenth century France.
European Importer of Authentic 18th and 19th Century Religious Antiques:Division of Paris Chateau
Fine Devotional Antiques: Ex Voto: Sacred Hearts: Santos Crowns: Reliquaries: Sacred Objects: Monastery Work: Religious Art