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Pendant Capsule in the Form of a Tau Cross, with the Trinity and the Virgin and Child

c. 1485

Made in England.

Cast gold with engraving.

The Tau cross was associated with St. Anthony and protection against the "fire of St. Anthony," or ergotism caused by the consumption of tainted rye. This beautifully engraved capsule with an inner cavity for an allopathic herbal mixture may have belonged to a member of the Brotherhood of Antoninus, founded in England in the mid-15th century and engaged in treating people suffering from the fire of St. Anthony. Under the angle of each arm is a riveted rod that originally held the pearl. On the lower edge of the cross there is a hole for hanging a tiny bell.

Was exhibited at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14.