A griffin's claw from St Cuthbert's shrine,
Eye shaped amulets, pleading for improved sight,
Containers for hands, arms, foreskins, breast milk, bits of the true cross,
Holy Hankies. Scallop shells of quiet and tokens from Lourdes and Walsingham.
I pondered on the trade in these things, surely source of wealth for many; benefiting from the disquiet of souls. The second council of Nicea in 787 declared that all altars should have relics, before consecration could take place; a cloth lowered to touch the relic within it's altar would bear some of the holy power away for the entreater.
One offering read,
"imperishable flower of the martyrs save me from the storm of the evil spirits of my mind and give me victory over them".
In another room there was a wonderful early Irish bell cover from the Shrine of St Cuileain. Look at those lovely Celtic horses guarding the four corners. This was possessed of such power, that liars who touched the bell would "fall down in convulsions or be strangled by its chain".
Then we left the Museum of wonders, ate a good lunch - at 3:30pm! and on to the National, where I was delighted by this dear little boy with his mischievous smile, watching Saint Hubert being Exhumed, incorrupted!
a delicate little crescent moon, somehow growing amongst a humble Madonna's flowers
several Johns with and without heads, and some delightful little landscapes, peering between the legs and arms of the sacred people to bring all that holiness into the space real people occupied
Crivelli's delicious fruits and fantasies
and a Mantegna Angel
who reminded me not a little of Evelyn De Morgan's Pre Raphaelite dancing damsels
|Our Lady of Peace - Evelyn De Morgan|
Then, on our way back to the station, deep in the underground, on a tube train, someone spoke to me! Two lovely London ladies on their way from here to there, who complimented my tattoo
and struck up a laughing conversation with me and Jen. They were utterly delightful, and I wish I could tell them what a pleasure they added to day's end on my birthday.
Thank you all for recent comments - share the pleasure ...