Rare 18th c. Reliquary from Sicily with Textile Relic

AGE: 18th century
DIMENSIONS: 6.75” wide x 4.5” deep x 15” tall
MATERIALS: Brass, silver, textile relic, woven gold braid
CONDITION: Interior of glass relic cover is cloudy; could have been a cross at top that is now missing; metal surfaces show wear and tarnish consistent with age and use.


We found this rare reliquary in one of our favorite cities – Palermo, Sicily.   This reliquary features a textile relic surrounded by hand-woven gold braid and the Latin words “De Velo B. Maria V.” meaning “The Veil Blessed Virgin Mary.” This relic has been secured with wax seals on the back. The wax seals are protected with a metal cover. The wax seals are somewhat difficult to make out, but appear to be a Catholic Cardinal’s coat of arms. The base is brass while the top is highly detailed and ornately embossed silver. It appears that the brass base could be a replacement of what might have been a wooden base.