12th Century: So-called bag of King Stephen of Hungary

So-called bag of King Stephen of Hungary

Reliquary Pouch, Russian, 2nd half of the 11th / 12th century

Item link page at Vienna Art History Museum

Textile; Silk, linen, gold thread embroidery, silk embroidery, silver, gilded, topaz, pearls, garnets, glass stones / embroidered

H. 15.5 cm, W. 13.5 cm

Older tradition linked the origin of this richly embroidered bag to the person of the first Christian king of Hungary, Stephen (István) I (around 969 – 1038). According to current knowledge, the phonetic image and the orthography of the texts embroidered on the front and back in Cyrillic script indicate that textile work emerged in Russia after the middle of the 11th century, so that the bag was previously used at best to store relics from 1083 canonized ruler may have served. The actual function of the pocket-shaped container at the time of its creation has not yet been determined. An original liturgical purpose seems obvious due to the psalm texts embroidered on the back, which are known from the liturgy of the Greek rite. However, direct comparison examples are missing. The bag owes its outstanding position among the medieval works of the spiritual treasury to the fact that it is one of the oldest surviving monuments of Russian embroidery art. The front is entirely covered by gold embroidery, which encloses various medallions with colored figures in silk embroidery. Christ is enthroned in the middle, surrounded by the four archangels, a seraph and a cherub as well as Saints Basil and Nicholas. The back shows a red silk fabric into which a cross and the above-mentioned inscriptions are embroidered with gold and red, yellow and green silk. The overall effect of the embroidery, which corresponds to works of goldsmith or mosaic art, is of an exceptionally high level: there are almost 700 stitches on one square centimeter. This suggests that it was created in an important artistic center, such as one of the great Russian monasteries. The bag probably only received its current closure at the bottom edge with a metal rod and the large topaz attached, as well as the small cross made of garnets on top, in the 17th century.

Currently issued:Imperial Treasury ViennaRoom II

IMAGE RIGHTS Vienna Art History Museum, Spiritual Treasury

INV. NO. Treasury, GS Chapter 186

11th Century: reliquary cross

The Reich Cross, dated 1024/25, 1325

Reliquary: West German; Foot: Prague

Oak core, fabric, gold sheet, precious stones, antique cameos, pearls; RS and sides: niello, iron pin for use as a lecture cross; Foot: silver, gold-plated, enamel

Item page at Vienna Art History Museum

The Imperial Cross represents a highlight of medieval goldsmith’s art and was created during the reign of Emperor Conrad II (1024-1039). The front is densely decorated with gemstones and pearls, while the back shows a niello drawing of the twelve apostles, the apocalyptic lamb and the four evangelist symbols.

H. 77.5, W. 70.8 cm

Total height: 92.5 cm

Foot: H. 17.3 cm


Like the imperial crown, the imperial cross is also filled with deep symbolic meaning. First of all, it is a symbol of Christian triumph, since Christ overcame his death on the cross through the resurrection. Since Emperor Constantine won his victory at the Milvian Bridge (312) under the protection of the cross, the cross was also considered a national emblem of the Roman Empire, an idea that was consciously continued by Charlemagne and to which the Ottonian and Roman Empire also relied early Salal rulers. The Imperial Cross can therefore be interpreted as a sign of Christian triumph, victory and imperial representation. It is part of a series of famous imperial foundations, at the beginning of which is a jeweled triumphal cross (crux gemmata), which Theodosius II had erected on Golgotha ​​Hill before 450. The Imperial Cross is not only a triumphant crux gemmata, but also a relic container. Parts of the front can be removed in panels and reveal the recesses inside in which the imperial relics were once kept: in the cross arm the Holy Lance (inv. no. SK_WS_XIII_19) and in the shaft the cross particles (inv. no. SK_WS_XIII_20) . These extremely valuable passion relics were considered a pledge of the “royal salvation” and the victorious power of the ruler. The meaning of the relics finds a perfect correspondence in the shape of the shell that contains them, which surpasses all secular symbols of power in terms of symbolic power.

Vienna Art History Museum, Secular Treasury

INV. NO. Treasury, WS XIII 21, Imperial Treasury ViennaRoom 11

17th Century: waxblossed reliquary figures

Wax Reliquary figures of St. Tiburtius & St. Valerianus
Munich, Germany, Early 17th century

Artist: Hans Krumper, 1570(?) – 1634

Material: Wax figure, glass eyes, real hair, silk, gold lamé, tulle, gold embroidery, pearls, oak wood, ebony pads, gold enamel, copper, gold-plated or painted, steel, gold-plated brass

St. Tibertius

INV. NO. Treasury, GS D 71 : www.khm.at/de/object/99040/

DIMENSIONS H. 36 cm, W. 22.5 cm
IMAGE RIGHTS Vienna Art History Museum, Spiritual Treasury


St. Valerianus

INV. NO.Treasury, GS D 70:www.khm.at/de/object/99039/

DIMENSIONS H. 36 cm, W. 22.5 cm, D. 19.5 cm
IMAGE RIGHTS Vienna Art History Museum, Spiritual Treasury

14th Century: Reliquary Bag


13th Century: Reliquary hanging


13th Century reliquary hanging, German

Bezants, beaded tassle tops and beads around the little glass (?) insets.

13th Century: Square Reliquary Box

Niedersachsen, second half of 13th Cen.
Domkammer, Münster, Germany

Pictures from “Stadt im Wandel: Kunst und Kultur des Bürgetums in Norddeutchland 1150-1650”

Color pictures via: http://www.domkammer-muenster.de/index.php?myELEMENT=197224

11th Century: Reliquary Bag with plaques and pearls

Reliquienbeutel, Trier, around 993

IN GERMAN: “Beutel für eine Kreuzreliquie, Vorderseite, Stickerei mit Perlen, vergoldeten Appliken und Spiralknoten. Trier, nm 993. Nürnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum (KG 562)
Auch noch aus dem späten 10.Jahrhundert stammt der mit bunter Seide in Ketten-, Stiel- und versetztem Flachstich auf Leinen gestickte Alexanderflug in Würzburg, der dort lange mit der großen bemalten seidenen Kiliansfahne verbunden gewesen ist.

Der wohl von Anfang an für Hildesheim bestimmte, wahrscheinlich aber noch in Trier um 993 gearbeitete Beutel für eine Kreuzreliquie in Germanischen Nationalmuseum, Nürnburg, ist aus rotem, ungermustertem Samit. Auf seiner Vorderseite wirkt die Aufnäharbeit mit Perlenkränzen um vergoldete Appliken in Kreuz- und Herzform, teilweise mit eingelassenen Glasflüssen, rot gefärbtem Bernstein oder gefaßten Almandinen sowie mit vier Goldspiralknoten wie Goldschmiedewerk, während auf der Rückseite Goldfäden in versenkter Anlegetechnik verarbeitet sind.

(translated via internet):

Bags for a Kreuzreliquie, front, embroidery with beads, gilded Appliken and spiral knots. Trier, Nm 993. Nuernberg, Germanic national museum (kg of 562) Also still from the late 10. century originates the Alexanderflug in peppering castle, gestickte with multicolored silk in chains -, handle and transferred flat pass on linen, which was connected for a long time with the large painted be-being those Kiliansfahne there.

Probably from the outset for Hildesheim the determined, probably however still in Trier around 993 bags worked for a Kreuzreliquie in Germanic national museum, Nuernburg, is from red, ungermustertem Samit. Its front the sewing on work with bead rings affects around gilded Appliken in cross and heart form, partly with let in glass rivers, red colored amber or calm Almandinen as well as with four gold spiral knots such as gold forging work, while on the back gold threads are finished in sunk putting on technology.

Bag for a cross relic, front, embroidery with pearls, gilded Appliken and Spiralknoten. Trier, nm 993rd Nuremberg, germanic national museum (KG 562)
Also yet out of the late 10. century the Alexanderflug embroidered with colorful silk in chains, handle and staggered flat sting on lines in Würzburg, that comes painted been is there long with the large silk Kiliansfahne connected.

That probably from the beginning for Hildesheim determined, probably however yet in Trier around 993 worked bags for a cross relic in germanic national museums, Nürnburg, is out of red, ungermustertem Samit. On its front, the Aufnäharbeit with pearl wreaths influences gilded around Appliken in Kreuz- and heart form, partial with admitted glass rivers, red colored amber or calm Almandinen as well as with four Goldspiralknoten as well as gold smith work, during the back gold threads in sunk designed technology processed are.

Thanks to Roxelana Bramante for her typing this for me.