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- Late 15th century
- Oak mounted with iron
- 15 cm
- 16.5 cm
- 24 cm
E. Berger, Prunk Kasetten, Meisterwerke aus der Hanns Schell Collection, Arnoldsche Art Publishers, p. 197.
P. Lorenzelli and A. Veca, Tra/e. Teche, pissidi, cofani e forzieri dall'Alto Medioevo al Barocco, exh. cat. Galleria Lorenzelli, Bergamo 1984, p. 254 - 258.
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This late 15th century missal box is covered with forged iron, in a typical diamond-shaped latticework. Underneath the openwork iron is a layer of red linen. The box has a trapezoidal roof, an overhanging lock and two rings on either side. The highly elaborate lock and lock plate are in the shape of a tree of life, with a cut-out heart at the top.
This reinforced chest was used to store the missal: an often richly decorated and valuable book containing the liturgical prayers for the Mass. The way in which the iron-reinforced missal boxes were designed to express a certain inviolability emphasises the importance of the missals. The architectural form is said to be derived from the description of the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant, a rectangular portable chest with two rings on either side, supporting carrying sticks. The missal boxes occur in this form in France and Spain, they are also called 'coffret a mailles or a la maniere d'Espagne', and an Eastern influence is noticeable in the decoration.