The Anointing of the Body, copper, enamel frieze

The Entombment of Christ, c. 1250

Unknown artist, expand_more

The city of Limoges, France, was renowned for the quality of its metalwork and enamels throughout the Middle Ages. The artist formed this relief by hammering the rough design into the copper from the reverse, a technique known as repoussé, then finishing the scene by chasing details into the front surface. The blue enamel eyes, gilt surface, and engraved decorative elements all lend added richness.

This relief has been linked to a series of extant repoussé panels depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ, including the Last Supper, The Betrayal of Christ, and the Flagellation. In the Entombment, Christ is being prepared for burial. A youthful John the Evangelist clasps his head in grief while Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene anoint his body with ointments and Mary cradles her dead son's head. The Entombment would have been a highly valued object of devotion on the church's altar.



Anointing the Body of Christ (#820)
The Entombment of Christ
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.

The Anointing of the Body, copper, enamel frieze