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St. George’s Reliquary from Elbing

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probably Bernt Notke (ca. 1435-1509)ca. 1480Lübecksilver, partly gilt, coral, Amethysts and rubiesH 46 cm

The silver, partly gilt statuette of St. George shows the Christian knight’s legendary triumph over the dragon. The Saint’s victory over the menacing beast, which had demanded a human sacrifice, saved the life of the king’s daughter. That prompted the heathen sovereign to convert to Christianity. This reliquary, holding a capsule for the presentation of the relic in its pedestal, belonged to the St. George’s Brotherhood in Elbing by the river Elbe. It remains questionable, whether the reliquary had been commissioned by them and who accomplished it. It is thought that Bernt Notke, the leading wood carver of the late Gothic period in Lübeck, contributed to the design of the saint’s figure.