The Great Shrine of Saint Maurice is one of the most prestigious artefacts in the treasury of the Abbey of Saint-Maurice d’Agaune (Valais, Switzerland), founded in 515. This reliquary is carried in a procession every year on the occasion of the saints’ day (22 September). Damaged several times, its state of conservation required a complete intervention, including the removal of all the ornaments, the localized electrolytic reduction of the silver tarnishing and the consolidation of damaged parts. The conservation-restoration treatment, carried out between 2017 and 2021, led to an interdisciplinary study to examine and analyse in detail this masterpiece of medieval silverwork.
Put into perspective with other religious items from the same period, our study sheds light on the poorly documented practices of silversmiths’ workshops and the circulation of raw materials in the Middle Ages.