You are not currently logged in.
Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:
If You Use a Screen ReaderThis content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Voices of the Saints: Speaking Reliquaries
Vol. 36, No. 1 (1997), pp. 20-31
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/767276
Page Count: 12
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Preview not available
Although they have often been considered as mere representational labels identifying the relic contained, body-part reliquaries, or what I would prefer to call shaped reliquaries, participate in a fluid exchange of signs, "speaking" much more than their contents. First, they often do not contain what they seem to say they contain. Second, their speech is complexly metaphorical. Third, in that both function primarily as metaphor, there is a peculiar slippage of meaning and importance between contained and container. Fourth and finally, shaped reliquaries of body parts signify specifically through the implied fragmentation of the relic-body, in this way insisting upon a larger whole. Such fragmentation was a problematic but powerful new discourse in the central Middle Ages.
Gesta © 1997 The University of Chicago Press