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.
...at 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
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.
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.