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Met maagdelijke blik

De reliekenschat van Herkenrode doorgelicht

F. Van Cleven, J. Reyniers & A. Ervynck (ed.)
With contributions by M. Boudin, Ph. George, Fr. Sorber, P. Stirnemann, M. Van Bos, M. Vandenbruaene, I. Vanden Berghe, Sh. Van Eenhooge, M. Van Strydonck & G. Wisse
ISBN 978-2-930054-36-0
2019, KIK-IRPA, 282 p.
Available in Dutch
€ 48
Also for sale at the KIK-IRPA’s reception desk

The treasured relics from Herkenrode...

The treasured relics from the Cistercian abbey in Herkenrode have long been connected with devotion to Saint Ursula and the 11.000 virgins. Abbot Willem Van Rijckel, who traded in relics, brought these devotional objects to Elisabeth of Spalbeek and the Cistercian nuns in the second half of the 13th century. Following the abbey's dissolution by the French government, at the end of the 18th century, the relics were taken to the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Kermt. Since 1992, the collection has belonged to the St Quentin Cathedral in Hasselt.

SA 17 Achterkant 1 the heart of a meticulous research process

In 2007-2008, with the support of the Flemish Government, the KIK-IRPA carried out an art-historical study into the origins of these treasures. Similar collections were studied both locally and abroad by art historian Frieda Sorber.

This project also involved scientific research, such as radiocarbon dating and analyses of organic and inorganic elements. Various studies were carried out on both the fabrics and decorative elements which include metal bobbin lace and parchment with writing.

In 2009-2010, our textiles studio carried out a final conservation campaign on all 114 relic holders.

The results of this historical research and associated scientific analyses are explained in great detail in this publication. This book is supplemented with an online inventory.

The Herkenrode collection is certainly remarkable. The scientific research conducted by the KIK-IRPA in recent years has further confirmed its rare and unique character. This was yet another reason to subsequently recognize the relic collection as a Flemish Masterpiece (topstuk).

Een indrukwekkende en overvloedig met kleurenfoto’s geïllustreerde boek. Met stijgende bewondering heb ik gelezen hoe de onderzoekers voorzichtig laagje voor laagje van de schedels en botjes ‘afpeuteren’ om te achterhalen uit welke materialen die laagjes zijn samengesteld en wanneer de relieken zijn verpakt.

L. Jongen (Madoc, 3, 2020)

Le grand intérêt de ce livre est de présenter visuellement et en détail ce que fut un trésor de reliques, complet ou presque, au Moyen Âge et à l’époque moderne. Ce genre de collection, alimentée par les reliques des vierges de Cologne ou des martyrs thébains, était assez fréquente avant la Révolution française, dans les églises mais aussi chez certains dignitaires laïcs.

F. De Vriendt (Analecta Bollandiana, 141, 2023)
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