The Human Touch

Making Art | Leaving Traces

In touch with the saints

Medieval pilgrims wore their badges conspicuously on clothing or caps. Although made from cheap materials and sold at shrine sites in vast numbers, the badges were believed to possess some of the spiritual power of the saintly relics they commemorated, having – supposedly – been pressed against them. The badge became a touch-relic, with its own protective and healing powers.

Pilgrim badge showing Sts Lawrence and Stephen
Rome (?)
c. 1200–1400
Lead-tin alloy (?), 3.5 x 3.2 cm.
Given by Matthew Ratenberg, 2009
CM.77-2009

Section: Six

In touch with the saints
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