Magnificent & rare antique French? paper punchwork reliquary in 19.5" gilt gesso on wood picture frame, 3-D crucifix with dried flower accents and sealed back with hand written labels or description of the work! Okay, my French is basically nonexistent and any attempt to translate it via the internet has been anything but fruitful SO, anyone fluent out there that can read the script on the back of this one? I'd just love to know what it says, any further description or history of the piece. In any event, isn't this one gorgeous! A richly gilded gesso on wood frame measuring 19.5" x 16" just about glows. The punch work is adhered to a deep red velvet backing and is both three dimensional and exquisite in its detail. The cross topped with the Titulus Crucis, or “INRI" (Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum) scroll and surrounded by the Arma Christi (Weapons of Christ). The Instruments of the Passion, are the objects associated with Jesus' Passion in Christian symbolism and art. The hammer and the pliers represent our actions. With every action we choose--hammer or pliers? The hammer drives the nails into the feet and hands of Christ. The pliers try to pull the nails out. Think of that--an unkind word--hammer, remembering to pray--pliers. Each action has an effect, each action is good or bad. This also depicts the Holy Lance (with which a Roman soldier inflicted the final wounds), flail and ladder (used for the Deposition or removal of Christ’s body from the cross). Also a green wreath at the apex, real dried flowers at the base and framed in a star shaped punch work lattice. There is also French text in punchwork letters along the bottom partially covered by the flowers but reads "La Croix Conduit Au Ciel" or "The Cross Conduct to Heaven". The back of the frame is sealed, attached to it are two paper segments with handwritten script. I can make out "hand made" and the dates 1772 and 1912. Something to do with "la chapelle de Notre Dame de Bon Secours" or Notre Dame de Bon Secours Chapel (Our Lady of Good Help) in Montreal Canada, unless I'm mistaken. It was built in 1771 over the ruins of an earlier chapel and is one of the oldest cathedrals in Montreal. Do a quick online search and you'll see some of the history. So, the piece is French but maybe French Canadian? In any event, relic and reliquary collectors will surely see how impressive this work is. Don't miss it!
Very good condition. A loose leaf, flower petal is in there but everything else seems to be in its proper place. There is some loss to the gilding on the frame, visible in the images. The paper sealed back is intact but there are several rips though not enough for the contents/relic to have been removed since sealed. See pictures for all measurements.
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Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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