Lot n° 15
8000 - 10000
Result with fees
: 9 360EUR
St. Osvald's bird, reliquary (?), gilt bronze.... - Lot 15 - Pierre Bergé & Associés
St. Osvald's bird, reliquary (?), gilt bronze. Projecting forward, the bird with a crested head, probably indicating a jay, holds a ring in its open beak; stylized plumage with fan-shaped tail feathers, wings consisting of an oval from which the remiges extend; V-shaped tenon at the lower part pierced with two fixing holes. Nice old patina.
Mosan ?, circa 1300
Height (with the tenon) : 14 cm - Length : 21,6 cm - Width : 10 cm
Antique marble base sculpted with a three-lobed foliage scroll inlaid with a green porphyry disc with a V-shaped notch.
Works consulted : O. von Falke and E. Meyer, Romanische Leuchter und und E. Meyer, Romanische Leuchter und Gefässe Giessgefässe der Gotik, Berlin, 1935, Abb. 231; L. Réau, Iconographie de l'Art chrétien, Paris, 1958, T III/2; Exhibition Cologne - Brussels 1972, Rhine-Meuse - Art et Civilisation 800-1400, Kunsthalle - Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, cat.
Saint Osvald is an Anglo-Saxon saint born around 604 and baptised in Scotland. He became king of Northumbria, spread the Christian faith in England and was killed while fighting the pagan king of Mercy. In his legend, unable to approach his fiancée whose father was slaughtering all suitors, he had a raven bring her engagement ring. The cult of this English holy king spread to the continent by the Irish or Scottish itinerant monks. He was popular in some towns in northern and eastern France, in Germany, in the Alpine countries and in northern Italy, in Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.
Represented in sculpture or painting, the crowned saint is often in armour holding the royal globe on which a raven is perched, a ring in its beak, as can be seen on an altarpiece preserved in the Eggenberg Castle in southern Austria (fig.a).
The bird depicted here would be a jay of the same family as the raven. It has a carefully sealed cavity under its tail, which could indicate a function as a reliquary. The oval at the start of the wings is reminiscent of some aquamaniles from the Mosan or Lorraine region of the second half of the 12th century, which were inspired by older oriental models. Those in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Bayerisches
Nationalmuseum in Munich give an idea of this (fig.b).
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