An early 16th century metal bound chest from Malta when it was gifted to the Knights Hospitallers. The iconography on the top showing Jesus with His arms outstretched in front of Jerusalem with the Sacred Heart below being a representation of God’s boundless and passionate love for mankind. To the left can be found Joseph of Arimethea and to the right Mary Magdalene both of whom are kneeling. The palm tree is symbolic of a palm branch which symbolises the victory of the faithful as in the Palm Sunday festival celebrating the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
The front of the box is covered in crosses in relief with inlaid mother of pearl Maltese crosses in the corners of the top as well as on the front. These crosses represent the Order of The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem – commonly known as the Knights Hospitallers. After Jerusalem was lost in 1187 – the Knights Hospitallers moved to Acre in Palestine – thereafter on to Cyprus and later driven out of Rhodes in 1524 after 200 years. In March 1530 the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V signed the Act of Donation of Malta giving the main island and several smaller ones to the Knights Hospitallers. This 16th century Maltese chest is an extremely rare survivor with the iconography depicting the above.
26.0 cms High (10.25 inches)
57.2 cms Wide (22.5 inches)
27.3 cms Deep (10.75 inches)
Stock No.: 1705