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For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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holy water-box / candle-box

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Rectangular box, for candles or holy water (?) partitioned into two; one side a cylindrical opening, other side a slit in the top. Earthenware covered with presumed tin glaze (except the foot). Painted on the top with roundels of six Medici `palle', a roundel with "S", incised tree-like emblem repeated 6 times, and the arms of Sciarelli of Siena (?). Sides painted in compendiario style with putti and an inscription "AVE MARIA MATER DEI".


  • Date

    • 1565 (14th December)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 14.5 centimetres (max)
    • Length: 25.2 centimetres (max)
    • Width: 18.5 centimetres (max)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        cylindrical opening
      • Inscription Transliteration

        .ADI..14..DICêBRE. 1565..FECIT
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Content

  • Bibliography

    • Wilson 1987 238 bibliographic details
    • Thornton & Wilson 2009 cat. 118 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Exhibition history


    2012 - Present, London, BM, G68 Money Gallery

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

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Object reference number: MCN9670

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