Carved Pearl Shell Pilgrim Souvenir, Palestine 1700s
Once a holy pilgrimage was complete pilgrims usually wanted to take home a relic for future protection and blessings. Clay tokens made from the earth near the pilgrimage centre were common souvenirs. Holy water was carried back from Mecca, Jerusalem, or sites in India. This practice continues to this day.
This carved pearl shell souvenir from Palestine shows a Nativity scene, as well as the Virgin and Child again at the very bottom and an elaborate floral border. These were popular Christian pilgrims' souvenirs from the Holy Land in the 1700s.
The Nativity, Carved Pearl Shell Pilgrims' Souvenir, 1700s
Shell (pearl) and copper alloy
16 x 12.6 cm