St. John Chrysostom’s reliquary-arm

INV RL.282
Braço Relicário de São João Crisóstomo

Portugal, late 16th century

Gilt copper, silver and inset stones

56 x Ø 13,5 cm (base)


This work is one of the most elegant examples of the reliquary-arm type in the collection of reliquaries in the old shrine of St. Roch.

The body of the arm, in gilded copper, is decorated with plant scrolls in bas-relief and coloured stone beads. It is framed, at the wrist and base, by two oval glass-covered recesses containing, respectively, the relic and an inscription alluding to John Chrysostom. An open hand, clearly anatomically correct, crowns the object at the top.

This one rests on a silver base with repoussé decoration that replaced the square pedestal, also gilded, registered for the first time in the inventory of the relics and reliquaries acquired by the professed house of St. Roch, of 1603.