Pendant

The Pelican in her Piety

ca. 1550-1575 (made)

Unknown

Height: 96 mm, Width: 38 mm, Depth: 24 mm

335-1870 MET

Pendant, 'The Pelican in her Piety', enamelled gold set with a foiled ruby simulant and hung with pearls, the back with black-and-white moresques enamel. Spain, about 1550-75.

Pendant, 'The Pelican in Its Piety', enamelled gold set with a foiled ruby simulant and hung with pearls, the back with black-and-white moresques.

This enamelled gold pendant represents a subject known as 'The Pelican in her Piety'. It refers to the medieval fable of the pelican drawing blood from its own breast to feed its young. This image is used to symbolise Christ sacrificing himself on the cross to redeem the world's sins. The pendant was once in the Treasury of the Cathedral of the Virgin of the Pillar in Saragossa, Spain.

From the Treasury of the Cathedral of the Virgin of the Pillar, Zaragoza. One of a group of jewels purchased by the Museum in 1870, when the Cathedral authorities sold off treasures presented to the shrine of the Virgin in order to complete their building programme.

Location: Jewellery, room 91, case 7, shelf D, box 5

View this object on the V&A website