Lichtenthal Altar Tabernacle


This tabernacle was commissioned by Sister Margaret (Greda) Pfrumbon, whose family made several gifts to the Cistercian convent of Lichtenthal in the Rhineland, where she was a nun. Margaret appears alongside St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the famous monastic reformer and a fellow Cistercian. Like the three magi, Margaret offers her gift to the Virgin and Child. With its translucent enamel over an engraved ground, the tabernacle emulates stained-glass windows. The baldachins placed over angels on each corner of the tabernacle resemble those at Reims Cathedral, the coronation site of French kings. The lions serving as feet for the object link the tabernacle to the Temple of Solomon, the archetypal site of the Holy of Holies.

"Lichtenthal Altar Tabernacle"
Germany, Upper Rhine (?), ca. 1330
The Morgan Library & Museum, AZAZ 48
Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan, 1908