Circle of Martin Schongauer, Basle(?)/Upper Rhine, ca. 1490/1500
Silver, beaten, engraved, parcel gilt, diameter 12 cm
Two curved, silver disks are joined together by a decorated rim to form a capsule like medallion or pendant. Such objects were used in the Catholic mass as an osculatorium or tabula pacis (tablet of peace) for conveying the Kiss of Peace. Among the few extant late medieval examples of the same size this pax occupies a special position because of the high quality of the engraved scenes on each side. Scaled down according to the proportions of the golden section and adapted to a circular shape, the two scenes from the Passion are otherwise precise copies of Martin Schongauer's well known engravings of The Agony in the Garden and The Arrest of Christ. Their attribution to the close circle of the famous Colmar painter and engraver is justified by the fact that his brother Georg was a goldsmith and his brother Paul was in Basle between 1489 and 1491. The collector Basilius Amerbach already noted in his 1585-87 inventory that the pax was "engraved by Martin Schon'".