"... a relic is a physical object understood to carry the virtus of a saint or Christ, literally "virtue" but more accurately the "power" of a holy person. It can be a bone or bones, some other portion of the body, or merely an object that has been sanctified through contact with a sacred person."
"... an object's status as a relic is defined through the recognition by some audience of the presence of power that leads to a certain desirability [...] without some form of recognition, a relic is merely bone, dust, or scraps of cloth. An audience is indispensable. It authenticates and validates the relic."
"... those trusted with the transport of relics believed themselves justified in taking a bit of the relics for their own reward, protection, and payment, a variety of defensible relic theft [...] This practice of dismembering or breaking the relic, far from being condemned, is cast as a natural act that envisions the relics as a sort of sustenance and mimics the scattering of seeds by birds."
"To the modern mind, reliquaries are at best uncanny, at worst only the utilitarian instruments of misdirected piety. Nonetheless, they hold an undeniable fascination, a distinctive and strange beauty." *
*Text excerpted from Strange Beauty: Issues in the Making and Meaning of Reliquaries, 400 - circa 1204, by Cynthia Hahn, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012 (pp. 9-12).
And about that embroidery ...
Whooooooo-ooooooooo-ooooooo (insert wiggly fingers here).
If you'd like to learn a simple version of this stitch, check out a comprehensive tutorial at Joyful Abode, then do yer own thang.
And for more "How To" posts from this blog, click on: "A history of chaos," "B sides," or "How to box & ship a quilt (like a Swede)" (more located under the sidebar's "How To" category). Most posts are visual explanations of embroidery or construction techniques, but others are explorations on how to be, so get your Smarty Pants on, or your Thinking Cap, or your Smock, or your Mad Scientist Goggles and get to work, people.
So damned much to learn. So little time.