Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Holy Relic

Philip Obermarck brings us the Finger of Saint Dymphna, a recreation of a traditional European holy relic.  The weathering on the wooden box is excellent.


Alysson Rowan said...

A beautifully presented sculpt - and one which could easily be mistaken for the genuine article (especially if the smell of bees' wax and frankincense is retained).

I seem to recall that someone was supplying Holy Relic (Saints' Fingers) in economy packs of 12 (please select your preferred saint).

CoastConFan said...

That’s a nice reliquary (with fused phalanges it appears) and I also liked the period casket shape. The other nice thing is that the casket is not over embellished. Really it’s a masterful piece of sculpting as it’s difficult to tell it’s not wood. I could make nothing of the inscription, which looks like upper case Koine Greek characters. The debris on the cloth was a good touch and he resisted making the cloth nasty. The corroded bronze ring is exactly perfect. I’ve handed and viewed a good number of Roman, post-Roman, and Byzantine bronze rings and that one is spot-on for color and texture. The whole effect is well understated.

I was unfamiliar with this 7th century Irish saint. Interestingly, she is the patron of mental disorders, which may explain a Mythos connection. In 1349 a church was built in Geel (now in modern Belgium) honoring St Dymphna and it had many pilgrims seeking treatment. They became one of the first (and more effective) places of refuge for those afflicted with their humane treatment. The middle ages often get a hard rap for their … uh, medieval medical treatment, but this is one of the shining exceptions. It’s well worth doing a little research. Thank you for bringing up this interesting historical figure and the important work done in her name.

His sheep head mask is on Deviant art is outstanding http://fourrpaws.deviantart.com/art/Sheep-403533786

PhilO said...

Thanks for your kind comments and thank you Propnomicon for featuring my work again.

@CoastComicFan, The casket is actually made from oak, distressed with a stain of vinegar and steel wool, then sandblasted within an inch of its life. The oak responded beautifully to both treatments and I was pleased with the weathered look. The casket was based on reliquaries that were common in the 5-7th centuries and the text was taken from this one I found online at the Met.

For a time I was a re-enactor and was part of a guild whose patron was St Dymphna. Since then I've had a fondness for her.

I made this piece for a show I did of similar gaffs and hoax pieces which are online at The Gammon Collection