Specimen bottle containing two Christian pilgrims relics from Bethlehem
These two objects, one still with its paper wrapping, were collected by Christian worshippers on a pilgrimage to Bethlehem in the early twentieth century. They are small tablets of terra sigillata – a clay traditionally believed to have medicinal qualities. The clay was ground up and used in medical preparations, a practice begun in the Middle Ages that continues today.
The wrapping is marked with a Latin inscription which translates as “Believed to be from the sacred crypt of the suckling blessed virgin Mary”. This white clay is from the Milk Grotto at Bethlehem, a holy site for Christians because they believe it was where Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ. The clay was also used to help women who had difficulty breastfeeding.
- Materia Medica & Pharmacology
- Object Number:
relic 2: 8 mm x 22 mm x 21 mm,
relic 1: 41 mm x 23 mm,
- furnishing and equipment
- container - receptacle
- ceremonial container
- Mutch, N.
- Loan: Wellcome Trust
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