‘Lapides Pretiosi Omnes Muri Tui...’ Precious Stones and Sacred Things in the Early Medieval Latin West



Rok publikování 2023
Druh Odborná kniha
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis Dark or bright, red, blue, or green, reflective, transparent, or opaque – in gems, nature provides one of the most striking spectacles we can enjoy. It is thus not surprising that humans have used them in ways that ensure that their presence imposes the maximum impact on the spectator. Set into silver or gold, carved, polished, and framed in precious jewellery or other objects of extreme importance, precious stones are the pinnacle of ‘preciousness’, ‘beauty’, ‘marvel’, and ‘rarity’. Naturally, during the Middle Ages they came to be considered an ideal medium to evoke the immanence of the divine. It is surprising that such a prominent and important medium and its role in the Middle Ages has received scholarly attention only as a part of the discourse tied to metalwork, reliquaries or as a focus of the simplified ‘dictionaries’ of stone allegories and magical amulets. It is thus surprising that only rarely have precious stones been the primary focus of research. As a response to the existing fragmented discourse of previous historiography, the aim and challenge of this book is to connect diverse approaches to understand how the early medieval Latin West saw, utilized and incorporated precious stones in religious objects. Therefore, I shall examine bejewelled objects important to the Christian faith and its manifestations in material culture. Objects such as reliquaries, crosses, altars, and book covers in some way used a common repertoire of ideas about precious and rare materials applying them to most ‘sacred objects’ of Christianity – relics, liturgical vessels, the Cross, and the Scriptures. The ambition of this book is to provide a discussion about the gems in early medieval times, connecting and expanding on disunited scholarly contributions. Bringing together Greco-Roman lapidary traditions, medieval exegetes, visions of the Heavenly Jerusalem, the cult of relics and of the Holy Cross with bejewelled crosses, reliquaries, altars, and book covers in one single volume I will assess the general value and allure of precious stones so as to answer why these objects were bejewelled at all in the early medieval period, with a particular focus on the eighth to the tenth centuries.
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