18thC Antique Embroidered Reliquary With Relics Of The Shroud of Turin


18thC Antique Embroidered Reliquary With Relics Of The Shroud of Turin

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An 18thC antique embroidered oval-shaped box of diminutive size, decorated externally to the front and back with flowers and foliage and, a geometric pattern to the sides, embossed with silver and red thread.

The lid opens to reveal a compartmentalised reliquary with fabric fragments, set behind glass, with paperolle decoration. To the left, a small folded silk cloth opens to reveal an image of a number of Bishops and aristocrats overlooking The Shroud of Turin which bears the image of Christ’s body following his crucifixion. Below, it states “il vero ritratto del santissimo sudario” / “the true portrait of the Most Holy shroud”.

The particular image is based on an engraving produced in 1684 depicting the annual display of the shroud, held in Turin on 4th May each year.

The History of the Turin Shroud:

The Shroud of Turin (Italian: Sindone di Torino), also known as the Holy Shroud (Italian: Sacra Sindone), is a length of linen cloth that bears a faint image of the front and back of a man. It has been venerated for centuries, especially by members of the Catholic Church, as the actual burial shroud used to wrap the body of Jesus of Nazareth after his crucifixion, and upon which Jesus’s bodily image is miraculously imprinted. The human image on the shroud can be discerned more clearly in a black-and-white photographic negative rather than in its natural sepia color, an effect discovered in 1898 by Secondo Pia, who produced the first photographs of the shroud. This negative image is associated with popular Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. The shroud’s authenticity as a holy relic has been disputed even within the Catholic Church, and radiocarbon dating has shown it to be a medieval artifact.

The documented history of the shroud dates back to 1354, when it was exhibited in the new collegiate church of Lirey, a village in north-central France. The shroud was denounced as a forgery by the Bishop of Troyes in 1389. It was acquired by the House of Savoy in 1453 and later deposited in a chapel in Chambéry, where it was damaged by fire in 1532. In 1578, the Savoys moved the shroud to their new capital in Turin, where it has remained ever since. Since 1683, it has been kept in the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, which was designed for that purpose by architect Guarino Guarini and is connected to both the Royal Palace of Turin and the Turin Cathedral. Ownership of the shroud passed from the House of Savoy to the Catholic Church after the death of former king Umberto II in 1983.

Relics of the Shroud:

During the 18th Century, two Popes, Clement XII (Pope 1730-1740) and Benedict XIV (Pope 1740-1758), ordered pieces of the upper left and right edges of the shroud to be clipped. The resulting fragments were given as papal gifts. It is reputed too that the Duke of Savoy, Victor Amadeus II (circa 1732), also distributed fragments of the Shroud as gifts, aimed at achieving dynastic aspirations for the House of Savoy, given the Shroud was an object of veneration.

Condition – Some fading and surface dirt. Offered for sale as found. This item continues to display well. A further detailed condition report is available upon request.

Size (Box): Length 4.5 cm x Width 3.8 cm x Depth 2 cm (1 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 7/8″)

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2. CINOA – CINOA is the world association of Art & Antique dealer associations (representing 5000 dealers from 32 associations in 22 countries).

3. The Norfolk & Suffolk Antique Dealers Association.

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