British Museum

The Holy Thorn Reliquary, One of the Greatest Relics of Medieval Christianity

The Holy Thorn Reliquary, One of the Greatest Relics of Medieval Christianity
The Holy Thorn Reliquary is a work of both ornate beauty and sublime significance. The grandeur and intricacy of the late-medieval French goldsmith’s craft is harnessed for the reverence of a single buckthorn – believed by many to be from the Crown of Thorns placed on the head of Jesus before the crucifixion. Dating from the 1390s, the reliquary’s design encompasses gold, enamel, rock crystal, pearls, sapphires and rubies. Its provenance includes some of the important royal collections in Europe and the work is now permanently housed in the British Museum. It has been described by one theologian as “a window into another world.”
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