Reliquary of the Virgin's Milk

This reliquary holds the Virgin’s Milk, powdered white chalk from the cave known as the Milk Grotto near Bethlehem. According to legend, a drop of the Virgin’ milk fell and whitened the walls of the grotto. No doubt it was Jacques de Vitry who also procured this relic. In the breast of the finely-chased dove is a large amethyst, one of the stones considered to be the most precious according to the Holy Scriptures. According to analysis of the style of the niello, this work would have been made after Brother Hugo’s time.

Reliquary of the Virgin's Milk

Oignies workshop
post-1243 – c. 1250

Silver, gold, amethyst, copper
45 cm H

Donated by the Sisters of Notre-Dame de Namur

Musée provincial des Arts anciens du Namurois-Trésor d'Oignies (TreM.a)
Inv. no. TO 16