Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. [John 1:29].

A rare Renaissance gold pomander pendant, probably Spanish, second half of the 17th century. The obverse is verre églomisé, reverse painted in vibrant colours. The reverse of the pendant is set with a rock crystal intaglio. The obverse depicts the Agnus Dei [Lamb of God] resting on the Book of Revelation. The Agnus Dei, who takes away the sins of the world, is a traditional symbol of Christ. This representation shows the lamb in a couchant or seated position, a posture that evokes a sense of its innocence, meekness and acceptance of sacrifice. A nimbus atop its head marks its divinity and its foreleg supports a cross. Beneath the lamb, in the Sacred Heart, are the letters IHS, the first three letters of Jesus in Greek. In Latin the abbreviation came to stand for ‘Jesus Saviour of Mankind’. The reverse is set with an intaglio rock crystal backed with pink foil. It depicts Christ on the cross. Agnus Dei pendants were worn as amulets to protect against the devil. The Malleus Maleficarum, a late 15th century witchcraft handbook, advised inquisitors interrogating devil worshippers to wear Agnus Dei waxes around their necks as a precaution. [Renaissance Jewelry in the Alsdorf Collection pg. 41.] The pomander opens for the insertion of a perfume-impregnated sponge. Small apertures around the edge of the pendant would enable the scent to waft out. The pendant measures 2 and 3/4 inches by 1 and 1/4 inches and has survived in remarkably fine condition.

£6500

similar verre églomisé in the V and A below