© Swiss National Museum

Name of Object:

Foot reliquary


Zurich, Switzerland

Holding Museum:

Swiss National Museum



Type of object:


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Silver, chased, partially gilded; silver filigree; copper, engraved, gilded; enamel (translucent); crystal glass beads; mother-of-pearl; oak wood


H: 14,2cm, L: 24,1cm, W: 9,8cm, Weight: 1041,6g


Switzerland, Basel


When Basel split into two half-cantons in 1833, the famous Basel Minster Treasure suffered the same fate. The new Canton Basel-Landschaft received 64 per cent of the treasure, but because it was desperately short of funds, it converted the ecclesiastical riches into cash, among them the silver reliquary of 1450, which brought the exchequer 562 francs. The reliquary has the shape of a foot, consistent with its contents – allegedly the foot bones of a young boy who was murdered in Bethlehem on Herod’s command. What chills modern viewers to the bone today, used to be the object of religious devotion to many. Through a of rock glass opening believers could catch a glimpse of the sacred relic and hope for divine assistance.

Current Owner:

Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft

How date and origin were established:

Dated following inscription

How Object was obtained:

Part of the Basler Minster Treasure. Aquired by the Landesmuseum at an Auction in 1982.

Citation of this web page:

 "Foot reliquary" in MWNF GALLERIES , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;GALLERIES;sw;Mus01;7;en&id=gold_and_silver

MWNF Working Number: CH_GAL_007