Mid-17th Century Portuguese Carved Reliquary Bust of “Saint Margaret of Antioch”
This antique bust of “Margaret the Virgin” was created in Portugal circa 1660. The saint, with the original polychromed and gilt finish, houses a small relic, a piece of hand-sewn fabric on the front of the bust by Margaret’s heart, protected with glass. The fabric is rhombus-shaped with a scalloped edge, and showcases an intricately stitched, small, shining heart which appears to be bleeding next to a long floral branch. Margaret herself is depicted wearing a serene expression and a headpiece which fully covers her hair. Her arms cross in front of her and it appears as if there were once hands attached to the ends of them which have been lost. The religious figure is in excellent condition commensurate with age and use, and adorns a wonderful patinated polychrome finish. Saint Margaret of Antioch, known as Margaret of Antioch in the West, and as Saint Marina the Great Martyr in the East, was the patron of childbirth and pregnant women and was one of the most venerated saints during the Middle Ages. Margaret resided in Antioch in Pisidia, modern-day Turkey, where she is believed to be the daughter of a pagan priest. During the reign (284–305) of the Roman emperor Diocletian, Margaret allegedly refused marriage with the prefect Olybrius at Antioch and was consequently beheaded after undergoing extravagant trials and tortures. Her designation as patron saint of expectant mothers (particularly in difficult labour) and her emblem, a dragon, are based on one of her trials: Satan, disguised as a dragon, swallowed Margaret; his stomach, however, soon rejecting her, opened, and let her out unharmed. In 1969 Margaret’s feast day, formerly July 20, was eliminated in the revised calendar of the Roman Catholic Church because it is doubtful whether she ever existed. Nevertheless, during the medieval period she ranked among the most famous saints; her voice was among those attested to have been heard by St. Joan of Arc when she first began receiving visitations at the age of thirteen. Measures: 5.75″ D, 8.5″ W, 14.75″ H.
|Dimensions||8.5" W x 5.75" D x 14.75" H|
|Place of Origin||