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Rare 17th C Whalebone Reliquary 50 Relic St Urban I, Sixtus I, Pontianus Spoleto

Rare 17th C Whalebone Reliquary 50 Relic St Urban I, Sixtus I, Pontianus Spoleto

Rare example of "whalebone" reliquary made in the Holy Roman Empire and Spanish Flanders (low countries) with 50 First Class Holy Relics of Martyr Saints present, which are:


Side A

Saint Urban I – Pope & Martyr

Saint Sixtus I - Pope & Martyr

Saint Lucy - Martyr

Saint Narcissus - Martyr

Saint Capituli – Martyr ?

Saint Larqi - Martyr

Saint Probi - Martyr

Saint Darius - Martyr

Saint Tigrini - Martyr

(15 Saints on the rim hard to decipher)


Side B

Saint Fermo - Martyr

Saint Tiburni - Martyr

Saint Maximi - Martyr

Saint Paulillus - Martyr

Saint Paulina (Paolina) - Martyr

Saint Sabani - Martyr

Saint Reanuli - Martyr ?

Saint Julia - Martyr

Saint Leonis - Martyr

Saint Justa - Martyr

Saint Pontianus of Spoleto – Martyr

(15 Saints on the rim hard to decipher)



Rare baleen plate* ("whalebone") Reliquary with the Holy Relics of many important Saints surrounded by paperolles** and silver bullion threads, resting on golden silk and presented as medallions. Which are placed in an intricate carved baleen plate frame and protected by hand carved rock crystal eyes.


*Baleen plate: 

Baleen is a filter-feeding system inside the mouths of baleen whales. To use baleen, the whale first opens its mouth underwater to take in water. The whale then pushes the water out, and animals such as krill are filtered by the baleen and remain as a food source for the whale. Baleen is similar to bristles and consists of keratin, the same substance found in human fingernails, skin and hair.

People formerly used baleen (usually referred to as "whalebone") for making numerous items where flexibility and strength were required, including baskets, backscratchers, collar stiffeners, buggy whips, parasol ribs, switches, crinoline petticoats, farthingales, busks, and corset stays. It was commonly used to crease paper; its flexibility kept it from damaging the paper. It was also occasionally used in cable-backed bows. Synthetic materials are now usually used for similar purposes, especially plastic and fiberglass. Baleen was also used by Dutch cabinetmakers for the production of pressed reliefs.


** Paperolle:

Artisanal technique of wrapping narrow strips of paper to create various forms and ornamental patterns. The paperolle is a very old technique used in the Middle Ages, in poor churches, to imitate gold or silver filigree decorations. The achievements were often reliquaries called reliquary to paperolles. Paperolle is a term derived from paper. It designates not only the technique, but also the realization in paper. The term rolled papers is sometimes used as a synonym.

Condition report:

This exceptional reliquary is in outstanding condition given the delicacy of the material used as frame. 3 rock crystal eyes missing and 1 replaced with modern glass. One of the sides rock crystals was replaced with XIX glass.

German private collection


-Payments can be made using PayPal, Credit Card Bank transfer or Cash On Collection

-We ship this item in a professionally packed manner and we provide tracking number.

-Any custom duties requested by the buyer´s country is to be paid by the buyer.

-If you have any special delivery or shipping requirements, we are happy to help.

Please note that we only sell the containers of our relics, the Holy Relics are given free in accordance with canon law.

At Soul Antiques & Sacred Art we take pride in our work by making detailed and accurate descriptions of every item. Sold "As is"

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