Date: Substantially completed between 1348 and 1365
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Czech Republic
Description: Charles IV (r. 1346–78), the first Bohemian king to become Holy Roman Emperor, had his castle at Karlštejn (Czech Republic). The wall paintings of the Chapel of Our Lady (on the second floor of the Lesser Tower) depict Charles as relic collector. The Chapel of the Holy Cross, in the castle's Great Tower, housed the largest collection of Passion relics in Europe (acquired by Charles in 1356). The lower walls are clad in precious and semiprecious stones, as in the contemporary St. Wenceslas Chapel at Prague Cathedral. Most of the iconlike busts of saints and prophets on the chapel 's upper walls contained relics in their frames, often visible through crystal covers. Among the figures depicted is St. Maurice, portrayed as a sub-Saharan African (an earlier example of which exists in sculptural form at Magdeburg Cathedral).
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 10
Image Credits: Linda Safran, Wikimedia Commons, Navid Jamali
Tags: Christian, Western European, Access to the sacred, Status and identity, Relics and reliquaries, Saints, Works in textbook