The church treasure of Our Lady in Tongeren as a focal point of late medieval religious experience. Materiality, narratives, rituals

Begin - Einde 
2022 - 2028 (lopend)
Vakgroep Geschiedenis



From the late fourteenth century onwards, collegiate chapters in the Meuse-Rhine region started to coordinate their relics displays. Every seven years they put their relics on display in July, thus attracting many pilgrims and enabling them to combine visits to multiple places to gather as many indulgences as possible. Relic sheets depicting the relics were sold to pilgrims so that they would have a lasting souvenir upon returning home. Not only did such a relic sheet from 1516 survive for Tongeren, but the reliquaries themselves depicted on it (except for one) also survived. However, the church treasure in Tongeren contains many more objects than those pictured and presents a wide array of objects, varying in age, material and style. A collection this diverse prompts the question of how the Chapter of Our Lady’s Church curated the treasure and whether the treasure can be regarded as a materialisation of the Chapter’s collective, transgenerational identity. This project, therefore, aims to identify the beliefs, narratives, rituals, interests and institutional developments that seem to intersect and interact in the church treasure.