St. Adalhard: Foot Reliquary

Foot reliquary from the Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris

No, this isn’t a golden shoe. It’s a reliquary crafted for the foot bones of St. Adalhard. It’s Italian and a century later than my story, but my novel traffics in relics, so it caught my eye in the Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris.

It’s a powerfully strange notion, this idea that human remains can connect us to heaven. That idea and its crass counterparts, the commerce that grew up around relics (including my personal favorite, that more than a dozen churches claimed to have the head of John the Baptist) and the officially sanctioned plunder of other religious sites, have a lot to say about the human creature.

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