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Chrismatory

Chrismatory

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    late 15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, parcel-gilt

  • Museum number:

    7243-1861

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 84, The Whiteley Galleries, case 2

This was made to contain chrism (from the Greek word for ‘anoint’), which is the holy oil used in the Christian sacraments of confirmation, baptism and ordination. Chrism is made of pure olive oil and balsam. The trefoil shape of the chrismatory corresponds to the three separate compartments.

Ritual cleansing and anointing play a crucial part in Christian worship, as they do in other religions. Water, salt, incense and oils are used in ceremonies such as baptism and confirmation, and in the blessing of individuals and of sacred objects like altars and bells.

Physical description

Silver, parcel- gilt. Triangular with figures of saints under Gothic canopies, the cover surmounted by a crucifix.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)

Date

late 15th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver, parcel-gilt

Marks and inscriptions

On plate under lid and under base: A

Engraved on Plate under lid: S?CAT CHRI and III

Dimensions

Height: 17.30 cm, Width: 9.50 cm

Historical context note

Medieval Worship

Until the 16th century Roman Catholicism was the universal faith of the Western world and Latin was its universal language. The needs of church ritual inspired the production of a range of richly decorated vessels and vestments, crosses and images in the form of altarpieces. Many were made of gold or silver, adorned with enamels or gems, precious materials seen as symbolic of the reverence due to the worship of God. Less wealthy churches used cheaper vessels in copper, brass or pewter.

The celebration of Mass was and remains the most important service of the Roman Catholic liturgy. For this the minimum requirements are an altar, a chalice and missal, the book of texts necessary for the Mass. Holy Communion or Eucharist is that part of the Mass in which the people participate in the sacrifice of Christ, by partaking of his body and blood in the consecrated bread and wine, held in the chalice and paten.

Descriptive line

Silver, parcel-gilt, Germany, dated 1499

Labels and date

Chrismatory

This was made to contain chrism (from the Greek word for ‘anoint’), which is the holy oil used in the Christian sacraments of confirmation, baptism and ordination. Chrism is made of pure olive oil and balsam. The trefoil shape of the chrismatory corresponds to the three separate compartments.

Ritual cleansing and anointing play a crucial part in Christian worship, as they do in other religions. Water, salt, incense and oils are used in ceremonies such as baptism and confirmation, and in the blessing of individuals and of sacred objects like altars and bells.

Germany, dated 1499
Silver, partly gilded
Museum no. 7243-1861 [27/10/2005]
CHRISMATORY
Silver, parcel-gilt
Mark, A
German; late 15th century []

Materials

Silver

Techniques

Parcel gilding

Subjects depicted

Crucifix

Categories

Religion; Metalwork; Christianity

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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