Nicholas of Verdun
Plaque from the Shrine of the Three Kings
semiprecious stones, gilded copper alloy
1.63 x 1.63 x 0.13 in
4.13 x 4.13 x 0.32 cm
Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Made by Nicholas of Verdun, one of the premier craftsmen of the High Middle Ages, this square plaque has a delicate natural motif made of filigree, with semiprecious stones inlaid on each corner. The Shrine of the Three Kings in Cologne, the monumental reliquary believed to contain the bones of the three Magi, is elaborately decorated in copper, enamels, and semiprecious stones that radiate with light suggestive of the sacred. This plaque came from the border of the reliquary, where it and similar ones alternated with enamel plaques.