reliquary (rĕlˌəkwĕrˈē) [key], receptacle containing the relics of saints and other sacred objects of the Christian religion. Reliquaries were often designed in shapes that reflected the nature of their contents, such as hands, shoes, buildings, and heads. They were richly decorated with gold, silver, enamel, and jewels.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.