Relics container



11th century

Location icon

This relics container or lipsanotheque, which entered the MEV in 1935, is sculpted in a single block of alabaster, shaped as a triangular prism, supported by four feet located at the corners of the base and with the front and back faces (where there are engraved traces, perhaps ancient inscriptions) in the shape of a two-sided cover. On the front face there is a square hole with a fitting for a closing lid: both lid and relics have been lost. It is part of a small group of seven relic containers with the same form preserved in Catalonia: one more in Vic (from Sant Pere del Grau, MEV 3964, the only one with registered origin), four in the Museu Marès in Barcelona and another in a private collection. It has sometimes been suggested that the whole group was crafted by the same workshops, perhaps Catalan, occasionally related to the alabaster quarries of Beuda. The shape of these relic containers reminds of a casket, but it has also the features of ancient burial types, such as the Roman cippus. This would be appropriate to the name given to the cavity of the altar where the relic container was kept (sepulchrum), remembering the tombs of the martyrs and emphasizing the symbolism of the altar as a place of burial and resurrection of Christ. The association would be strengthened if the object had contained relics of the Tomb of Christ, a souvenir from Holy Land attested in the Catalan counties before the Crusades, as evidenced by the relic container from Tost (c. 1040).

Marc Sureda Jubany

Llegir més


Room4 ,Floor0

4 Romanesque Art

5-6-7-8 Gothic Art

Detalls de l’obra




11th century




10 x 12 x 9.5 cm


Provenance unknown


MEV 9737