Olifant Reliquary

3D Image

Geoffrey Marchal
published on 12 November 2020

An olifant reliquary imported from Sicily and ramanied by a workshop near the area of the Meuse River around 1160-1180 CE. Ivory, repoussé, openwork, chased and gilded cast copper. In the 11th and 12th Century CE, Sicilian ivory carving workshops had specialized in the production of olifants, hunting horns carved from elephant tusks.

After its arrival in the Mosan region, this olifant, perhaps because it was a curiosity or thought to be the personal belonging of a saint, was transformed into a reliquary. It was then embellished with a gold decoration representing busts of apostles, prophets and virtues.

Provenance: treasury of the Saint Servatius Church in Maastricht. Museum of Art History. (Musée du Cinquantenaire, Brussels, Belgium). Made of 180 pictures with ReCap pro from AutoDesk.

Remove Ads


Free for the World, Supported by You

World History Encyclopedia is a non-profit organization. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide.

Become a Member  


  • KMKGAccessed 10 Dec 2020.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Marchal, G. (2020, November 12). Olifant Reliquary. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/image3d/512/olifant-reliquary/

Chicago Style

Marchal, Geoffrey. "Olifant Reliquary." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified November 12, 2020. https://www.worldhistory.org/image3d/512/olifant-reliquary/.

MLA Style

Marchal, Geoffrey. "Olifant Reliquary." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 12 Nov 2020. Web. 03 Feb 2023.