Bible and Beyond

Reliquary Cross of Justin II

The sixth-century ‘Reliquary Cross of Justin II’, covered in semiprecious stones, shows how far Christianity had traveled from its unpretenious beginnings.

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.

Kimbell Art Museum, Ft. Worth, TX

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 28, 2008, “From Humble to Sumptuous- The Earliest Christian Art”

Metropolitan Museum- Relics and Reliquaries in Medieval Christianity