Treasure of Oignies, one of the Seven Wonders of Belgium, to be displayed in Paris
The Treasure of Oignies, recognised as one of the Seven Wonders of Belgium, will be on show at the Musée de Cluny in Paris from 19 March to 20 October. This is the first time that the treasure, which comprises some 50 pieces, will be shown almost in its entirety outside Belgium, the King Baudouin Foundation announced on Thursday.
The exhibition in Paris presents a selection of the most beautiful pieces of the 13th century ecclesiastical treasure. The Treasure of Oignies consists of around 50 pieces, including reliquaries set with gold and precious stones, bookbands and chalices made of engraved and gilded silver.
According to the King Baudouin Foundation, this rare ecclesiastical treasure owes its international fame to the refinement of the artefacts, the technical mastery and the precious materials used. The good state of preservation and the special history of the pieces also contribute to its value.
In 1978, the treasure was declared one of the Seven Wonders of Belgium. The Ghent Altarpiece by the Van Eyck brothers, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and The Descent from the Cross by Peter Paul Rubens are also on this list.
In 2010, after the Wallonia-Brussels Federation classified 32 pieces from the treasure as exceptional movable heritage, the Sisters of Notre-Dame de Namur transferred the ownership of the treasure to the King Baudouin Foundation to ensure its survival.
The exhibition is a joint initiative of the Musée de Cluny in Paris and the Musée provincial des Arts anciens du Namurois in Namur, where the treasure is normally exhibited. A small part of the Treasure of Oignies was exhibited in Paris once before: 100 years ago, three pieces were put on display in the Louvre.
One of the pieces of the treasure © PHOTO KING BAUDOUIN FOUNDATION, HUGHES DUBOIS