Ett ”väl utsmyckat skrin” för Katarina av Vadstena? En omtolkning av det broderade relikvariet i Linköpings domkyrkomuseum
Title: A “well adorned shrine” for St Katarina of Vadstena? A reinterpretation of the embroided reliquary in Linköping Diocesan Museum
This article discusses an embroided skull reliquary in the keeping of Linköping Cathedral’s Diocesan Museum in Sweden. It is one of four still extant similar reliquaries from Vadstena Abbey. The reliquary has previously been examined by Agnes Branting & Andreas Lindblom (Medeltida vävnader och broderier i Sverige 1928) and later discussed by Axel L. Romdahl in Fornvännen (1929) as well as by Carl R. af Ugglas (1935). In 2001, Inger Estham described it in a publication on textile objects in Linköping Cathedral and suggested that it was made for the feast of the translation of Bishop Nils Hermansson in 1515. A renewed analysis of the reliquary, which takes the embroidery techniques, the loss of ornaments and the iconography into consideration, supports the assumed provenance from Vadstena Abbey. The hitherto unnoticed decoration on the lid, in the shape of a typical Birgittine nun’s crown, suggests that the relics belonged to someone in the Birgittine context. Based on this observation, together with an iconographical and stilistic analysis, this article argues for a rejection of the connection between the reliquary and the translation of Bishop Nils Hermansson. It is further suggested that the dating of the reliquary must be adjusted to a time not later than the translation feast of Katarina of Vadstena in 1489, and that it might even have originally been made to encase her skull.