Pair of magnificent large Baroque reliquaries, Rome, early 18th century.
Composed of two carved, lacquered and gilded frames containing four relics (bone fragments) of different saints and five Agnus dei in wax issued by Pope Benedict XIII (pope from 1724 to 1730). The interior of the reliquaries is richly decorated with gold and silver thread embroidery, pearl weaving and gilded silver foliage.
The story of the Agnus Dei is very interesting: The Agnus Dei are small wax medallions on which on one side the image of the paschal lamb is imprinted and on the other the effigy of a saint.
The Agnus Dei were blessed by the pontiff in the week after Easter, in the first and seventh years of his pontificate. The waxes were then distributed to the faithful, an ancient memory of the distribution of pieces of the paschal candle.
The reformed monks of San Bernardo (called Foglianti) residing in the monastery of Santa Pudenziana and San Bernardo alle Terme in Rome, obtained from Pope Clement VIII in 1599, and then definitively by Pope Paul V in 1608, the exclusive and in perpetuity to prepare the Agnus Dei with the wax and molds provided by the Apostolic Palace. Amalario Fortunato, a famous writer of the 9th century, attributes to St. Gregory the Great the rite of infusing the sacred oil in the wax, from which the Agnus Dei were then formed.
H cm 57
L cm 31
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