Eagerly venerated and able to perform miracles, medieval relics and religious artefacts in the Latin West would occasionally also be subject to sensorial and tactile devotional practices. Evidenced by various reports, artefacts were grasped and stroked, kissed and tasted, carried and pulled. For medieval Norway, however, there is very little documentary and/or physical evidence of such sensorial engagements with religious artefacts. Nevertheless, two church inventories for the parish churches in Hålandsdalen (1306) and Ylmheim (1321/1323) offer a small glimpse of what may have been a semi-domestic devotional practice related to sculpture, namely the embellishing of wooden sculptures in parish churches with silver bracelets and silver brooches. According to wills from England and the continent, jewellery was a common material gift donated to parishes by women. Such a practice is likely to have been taking place in Norway, too, yet the lack of coherent source material complicate the matter. Nonetheless, using a few preserved objects and archaeological finds as well as medieval sermons, homiletic texts and events recorded in Old Norse sagas, this article teases out more of the significances of the silver items mentioned in the two inventories by exploring the interfaces between devotional acts, decorative needs, and possibly gendered experiences, as well as object itineraries between the domestic and the religious space.
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