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um 1600/05, Artist: Matthäus Walbaum




This is the only surviving example of an ostensory by Walbaum and can be ranked as one of his finest and most magnificent works. It has the same structure as full-sized altars, being divided into predella, centrepiece, pediment, and crowning element. The wooden corpus is decorated with a profusion of silver scrollwork which virtually dissolves the contours, giving an impression of bewildering richness. A harmonious balance exists between the wooden corpus and the silver ornamentation, each enhancing the effect of the other. The relies of various saints are displayed in 17 small compartments. These are flanked by four figures on consoles representing (from top left to bottom right): Caritas (Charity), Temperantia (Temperance), Fides (Faith) and Spes (Hope). In the predella, the Madonna is being worshipped by angels, in the superstructure, the Pieta is surrounded by saints and angels, and the figure of a bishop-saints forms the crowning element. One of the most original features is that of the two angles balancing or the volutes. The silver mounts provide an in sight into the techniques used in Walbaum's workshop. Similar ornaments and figures can also be found in other works by Walbaum in the Ecclesiastical Treasury.

Location: Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien Raum II

Object data

Object Name

Reliquiar; Reliquienostensorium




um 1600/05


Matthäus Walbaum (1554 Kiel - 1632 Augsburg) - GND


Eichenholzkern, Ebenholzauflagen, Hartholz schwarz gebeizt, Silber, teilweise vergoldet, Glas


H. 49,8 cm, B. 28,8 cm, T. 11 cm


Augsburger Pyr (SEL 24); R 3, Nr.126 (SEL 1060s)

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Geistliche Schatzkammer

Inv. No.

Schatzkammer, GS D 89

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