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Currently shown

Pax

Location

FRANCE

Title

Pax

Date

1348

Materials

Gilded copper, silver

Dimensions

10.2 cm (diam.)

Credits

Purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan, inv. 1955.Dm.1

Collection

Western Art

A pax, or osculatorium, is a small object sometimes used to transmit the kiss of peace in the liturgy of the Eucharist. The celebrant, his assistants and the congregation take turns kissing it instead of one another. This reduces the rite’s physical dimension while heightening its ritual import. The centre of this circular pax is delicately decorated with a shield surrounded by three small embossed dragons whose bodies are decorated with filigree. The Virgin and Child represented on the shield between two crossbows and three escutcheons allow us to attribute the object to a commission from the urban middle class, which was burgeoning of the southern Low Countries in the fourteenth century.

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