Thursday, March 18, 2004
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
The Ardagh Chalice.
Considered one of the finest examples of Celtic art and metallurgy, the Ardagh Chalice was found in the mid 1800s (I found several different years for its finding while researching online) by a young man in Ardagh, Ireland, who was digging potatoes at the time. The Chalice dates to the 8th century AD, where early Irish church fathers used cups like this in performing Communion.
I first read about the Chalice in Thomas Cahill's book How the Irish Saved Civilization. In describing the Chalice, Cahill describes how a worshipper drinking the sacramental wine from the cup will, in the course of draining it, tilt it toward Heaven, revealing its intricately-carved underside to God. This bit of detail has always struck me as a particularly lovely facet of ritual. I was unable, sadly, to find any images of the carved underside on the Web.