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The Iberian tradition of wearing reliquary pendants remained strong in her colonies. Curiously, however, few of these two-sided, handsome, painted or sculpted religious images, usually set behind glass in silver or gilded silver frames, contained actual relics. The term became symbolic and based on tradition. Some relicarios, metal-framed small religious prints, served as simple presents that missionaries gave to their new converts. Eventually, they became a popular art form, meant for private devotion, or to publicly display religious devotion to a particular saint or the Virgin. Men, women, slaves, nuns, and priests considered them powerful amulets to protect the wearer from harm. Elegant gold, gem, and pearl framed relicarios also served to evade Sumptuary Laws that forbade colonists or their servants from wearing flashy jewelry. Some were finely painted miniatures of religious themes or exquisite tiny carvings of boxwood, ivory, other woods, alabaster, and tagua nut, vegetal ivory. Relicarios are of special interest to Pachamama's owner; she writes about them and gives talks.


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