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Special exhibition archive

Veil and Adornment: Medieval Textiles and the Cult of Relics, 27 April – 9 November 2014

A relic may be the physical remains of a saint, an object touched by the saint while alive, or a memento of the places where Jesus taught and suffered. As material testimonies to the faith, relics were greatly venerated during the Middle Ages. They were collected, given as gifts, traded, displayed for public veneration, and placed in shrines made of precious metals. Textiles played an important role in connection with relics. The holy remains, from whole bodies to splinters of bone, always rested in their shrines or reliquaries shrouded in fabric, tied with cords, and often bearing an inscription identifying the saint. Items of clothing worn by saints were also venerated as relics and were carefully preserved to protect them against the ravages of time.