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The Servatius Plaques

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unknown1403Maastrichtsilver, giltH 10,7 cm; W 13,8-16,2 cm

As a thanksgiving for a healing, Henry, Duke of Bavaria (1386-1450), donated a reliquary bust to the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht in 1403. It represents Saint Servatius, who died as the bishop of Tongeren in 384. The eight silver-gilt reliefs originally decorated the octagonal pedestal of the lost bust. The reliefs show the events of the saint’s life, with great care for narrative flow and factual precision: 1. The handover of mitre and crosier to Servatius as the new bishop of Tongeren by an angel; 2. St. Peter handing over the keys to the gates of heaven; 3. The conversion of Attila, King of the Huns, with the aid of an eagle protecting the sleeping St. Servatius from the sun; 4. Servatius producing a spring of water; 5. Slaying the dragon; 6. The removal of the church’s treasure from Tongeren to Maastricht; 7. Angels covering the saint’s corpse with shrouds; 8. Servatius forgiving children, who lost their hands when stealing grapes from his vineyard.