R03de_The Treasury of a Monastery
Medieval Monasticism- The Cloisters” as a case study.
This text is meant to serve as a guide for any visit to The Cloisters by a student. All students should, either in person or via the Internet, attempt to make comparisons with this ‘real’ monastery and the general descriptions of monasteries discussed in class.
This text was compiled by Mr.V while visiting “The Cloisters” (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City). It’s structure has been formatted for clarity, but not so much beyond it’s original ‘note style’ form.
The ‘Treasury’ of a Monastery
Gold & Silver Objects
These objects, as you would expect, were fashioned into items of a religious theme. Melting the objects was performed under certain circumstances:
• Funds needed by monastery
• Funds needed by the Monarch
• Seized by invading armies
• Design changes (sometimes brought about by changes in the liturgy) made older objects obsolete for the performance of rituals (i.e.. Mass).
Any disruption in the supply of these precious metals would not bode well for an established or newly found monastery. Supplies of gold and silver kept the monastery from recycling its liturgical items. Hence, many monastic objects never survived to this day because of the unpredictable precious metal supply.
Some of the objects fell within categories. A few of these were:
• Primary Church Service Objects: Chalice
• Secondary Church Service Objects: Altar Crosses
• Tertiary Church Service Objects: Censors (for incense)
• Reliquaries: Designs included Altar, Arm, Bust, and Vessel reliquaries
For Your Consideration
Using your computer, conduct a web search for images of objects used in Roman Catholic Church services (Ex.: Sunday Mass). Be prepared to offer the name, purpose, and material composition of that object.