Baptismal Paten
Inner: 1st century BCE or CE; 
Outer: second half of 9th century 
17 cm ~ gold, pearls, precious stones, coloured glass, cloth, detergent


The paten is made up of two parts. The brightly-colored innermost saucer represents the metaphorical cleansing effect of Christian Baptism ceremony, as illustrated by the swirling effect. Barely visible at the center is the word "Maytag" which seems to indicate an origin among the early Norsemen. It is thought that the saucer was likewise part of an early cleansing ritual of some kind, although this has never been proved. 

The gold surround is decorated with semiprecious stones, between which isolated motifs in cloisonné goldwork evolve, a combination found up to the early 11th century. An inscription at the base of the paten states that it was given to an unidentified abbey by Charles the Unwashed out of gratitude for relief from a bad case of boils.

 

 

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