Mechelen was an important production site of alabaster reliefs in the 16th century. These small representations were usually taken from the Old and New Testaments and offered the owners of such tableaux the opportunity to seclude themselves in devout meditation for a while at home (or in the monastic cell). The finely carved reliefs were usually glued to wooden panels and framed in papier-mâché. The finish often consisted of polychromed and gilded accents.

00184 Baptism scene   00184 Baptism scene
00185 A king meets monastics or honorary mites   00185 A king meets monastics or honorary mites
00186 Birth scene   00186 Birth scene
00187 Saint Anne   00187 Saint Anne
00188 Message to Mary   00188 Message to Mary
00189 Saint Luke   00189 Saint Luke
00190 Saint Mark   00190 Saint Mark
00191 Parable of the Prodigal Son   00191 Parable of the Prodigal Son

Goa (India), Celao (Sri Lanka), Malacca (Malaysia) and Macao (China) and even as far away as Japan were important trading posts of the Portuguese. In addition to trade, they also brought the Catholic Church there. Local carvers manufactured, according to Western guidelines, Christian cult and (personal) devotional objects in ivory. Very popular were the reclining Child Jesus with index finger at mouth. The pax table in this collection is particularly interesting for its iconography, while the figurine of St. Jerome with his lion clearly betrays an influence from the Far East.

00175 Saint Jerome   00175 Saint Jerome
00176 Crowned figure   00176 Crowned figure
00177 Apostle   00177 Apostle
00178 Saint John the Baptist   00178 Saint John the Baptist
00179 Prior (EN)   00179 Prior (EN)
00180 Infant Christ lying (large)   00180 Infant Christ lying (large)
00181 Infant Christ lying (small)   00181 Infant Christ lying (small)
00182 Blessing Infant Christ   00182 Blessing Infant Christ
00183 Pax table   00183 Pax table
Architectural components

Two particular 15th-century architectural pieces are found in the collection. First, a scale model of a cathedral facade in which a portal, gallery and rose window are very finely carved. Next, an impressive beam decorated with angels holding the coat of arms of Florence. It comes from the facade of the nation house of the Italian city-state in Bruges and dates from 1460-1470. This makes it the only sculpted work in the medieval collection of the castle with a Bruges origin.