Reliquaries from A to Z Through September 2019 at the Mucem

Bras-reliquaire, région alpine, 1650-1700 Bois sculpté, peint et doré, métal 71 × 37 × 19 cm - Mucem, Marseille © Mucem / Yves Inchierman
MARSEILLE.- A as in "Agnus Dei", B as in "Bras" (arms), C as in "Custos", D as in "Dent" (tooth), E as in "Épine" (thorn) ... The major themes related to Christian practices and belief are presented via 26 letters in the exhibition "Reliquaries from A to Z": a mystical alphabet assembled from the collections of the Mucem. In 2002, the Mucem acquired from a private individual a unique collection of some 500 reliquaries. This very rich set testifies brilliantly to the variety of forms, techniques and uses of reliquaries in the European Christian world, mainly over a period from the 17th century to the first third of the 20th century. The term "relic", from Latin reliquiae (literally "remains"), refers to the human remains of holy persons (often bone fragments) or objects that belonged to them or had been in contact with their bodies.

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