Reliquary Bust of Saint Balbina, ca. 1520–30
South Netherlandish (possibly made in Brussels, Belgium)

β€œAll reliquaries derive their power from the relic they contain as well as from the beauty and intrinsic qualities of the vessel. Reliquaries in the form of busts became widespread during the High Middle Ages. This head (made of painted and gilded oak) contains the skull of Saint Balbina, an early virgin martyr of Rome. The label on the little door on top identifies the relic inside. She is richly dressed in a fashionable gown and with jewelry and an elaborate coiffure.” (metmuseum.org)