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The Keir Pyx

The Keir Pyx

Culture Group: French
Culture: French
Date: mid 13th century
Medium: Champlevé enamel on copper
Dimensions:
Height: 4 3/8 inches (11.1 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Label Text:A pyx is a special container to hold the Eucharistic wafers for a Christian communion ceremony, celebrated as part of a Catholic mass to honor Christ's sacrifice, his death on the cross, and his resurrection to alleviate the sins of humanity. Catholic priests would have used this special container to carry the Eucharist (Body of Christ) to a sick, injured, or dying person. This is a tradition that continues today. The Eucharist is seen as the ideal food to strengthen a dying person for the journey from this life to the next.

This example, made in Limoges, France, is decorated with enamel made of colored glass set into a design of chiseled copper reservoirs. Its luminosity is created by the translucent glass reflecting light off the copper background underneath.

This pyx came from the Keir Collection, an important collection of medieval enamels.
Provenance: Georges Chalandon, Lyon & Paris; purchased before 1964-1970 by Marthe and Ernst Kofler-Truniger, Lucerne, Switzerland; purchased 1970 by Edmund de Unger (Keir Collection) [1918-2011]; purchased November 20, 1997 through (Sotheby's, lot 92) by Duke University Museum of Art, now Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Object number: 1997.29.1