Identified by inscriptions along the sides, the relics include a fragment of wood believed to be from the cross on which Jesus was crucified – set prominently in a rectangular frame with a cutout cross – as well as relics of the Holy Innocents and of the tombs of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

Reliquaries are the containers that store and display relics. Since the relics themselves were considered “more valuable than precious stones and more to be esteemed than gold,” they were enshrined in vessels, or reliquaries, crafted of or covered by gold, silver, ivory, gems, and enamel. These precious objects were a major form of artistic production across Europe and Byzantium throughout the Middle Ages.

The Cloisters Collection, New York

Metropolitan Museum- Relics and Reliquaries in Medieval Christianity