Today I am sending photos of the third category of 3-D work from this summer – boxes and reliquaries. Now at first glance, a reliquary might look like any other box. (Not necessarily, and if you want to see some really interesting shapes, just do a search on the word Reliquary!) What distinguishes it is not it’s outward appearance, but it’s purpose and contents. If a vessel is anything that will hold or contain anything else, and a shrine is anything that commemorates or memorializes a person, place, or event, a reliquary combines the two: a container that memorializes.
Historical Note: Traditionally, reliquaries were used to house some relic from a saint or other holy person (Saint Someone’s knuckle bone, or the hair of Saint Somebody), and were held to be holy by association. One thing they all had in common was that the exterior of the container was extravagantly embellished with gold leaf, jewels, ivory, or whatever was precious. By contrast, the interior was plain and ordinary, to denote the humility of the saint.
I have made quite a number of boxes over the years, and a couple of them fall into the category of reliquary. One was created to hold a necklace that was made of crystals from a necklace belonging to my paternal grandmother. The other was created to commemorate my 60th year, and contains small beaded artworks made each month during that year. So, without further ado, here are a few from this summer. Enjoy!