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Embroidered foot cushion allegedly of St. Anne, with bishopric manuscript certificate

 Collection — Box: 1 [31151034438048]
Identifier: MS-0803
The collection is an embroidered silk cushion claimed to be placed under the foot of St. Anne with an accompanying manuscript dated July 25, 1751.


  • 1751 July 25

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is located at the George Peabody Library and may require scheduling a special appointment to access it.

Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.


.35 Cubic Feet (1 flat custom box (19 x 2 x 16))

Cathedral of St. Cyriacus historical note

The Cathedral of St. Cyriacus in Ancona, now Ancona Cathedral, is located in central Italy on the Adriatic coast. It was the seat of the Archbishop of Ancona. Ancona was a popular pilgrimage location due to its proximity to Loreto, where the home of the Virgin Mary was allegedly relocated during the 13th century. The cathedral obtained relics in the 11th century supposedly belonging to St. Cyriacus and St. Marcellinus. Other cathedral relics, obtained at unknown dates, included an alleged piece of Jesus' crown of thorns and the heads of Saints Peter and Paul. Catholic pilgrims often traveled great distances to view significant items and sites related to saints and holy figures.

Source: Hofmann, Paul. “Italy's Loreto Offers Vistas And a Legend.” New York Times, June 18, 1989. Accessed March 20, 2018.

McCauley, Mary Carole. “Jesus' grandmother's foot pillow, other rare artifacts on view at Peabody Library.” Baltimore Sun, September 20, 2017. Accessed March 20, 2018.

Paul Palaiologos Tagaris biographical note

Paul Palaiologos Tagaris, who allegedly donated the cushion to the Cathedral of St. Cyriacus in Ancona, was a 14th century Byzantine Greek monk. Other than St. Anne, he is the earliest, purported historical figure associated with this item. In 1380, after being appointed Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, he arrived in Ancona en route to Rome and presented officials with several valuable relics.

There is no information on the creator of the cushion, or signer of the certificate.

Source: Fattori, Niccolò. “The Greek Confraternity of Sant’ Anna Dei Greci in Ancona: Demographic Structure and Social Responsibilities (1524–1580).” In Early Modern Ethnic and Religious Communities in Exile, edited by Yosef Kaplan, 44-93. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017.

Content Description

Rewritten from dealer description:

This item is an embroidered silk cushion claimed to be placed under the foot of St. Anne with an accompanying manuscript dated July 25, 1751. The cushion is Italian in origin with a light grey ground and embroidered on one side with a floral design in gold thread.

Attached to the cushion is a printed certificate, written in Latin and embossed with the Bishop of Ancona's seal and tied with a pink ribbon. The manuscript identifies the item with the following text: "Nicolaus Mancinforte Dei, & Apostolicæ Sedis gratia Epicopus Anconæ ... Universis has literas inspecturis palam facimus, certoque testamur exiguum pulvinar ... jacuisse sub Pede Sanctæ Annæ Matris Deiparæ Virginis Mariæ Dominæ nostræ Ancona." The signature plausibly belongs to an official from Cathedral of St. Cyriacus in Ancona where the cushion was housed. Presumably such cushions would have been sold to pilgrims and visitors to Ancona Cathedral in the eighteenth century.

The cushion measures 21 x 10 x 3 cm. The manuscript measures 19.5 x 26.5 cm.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Samuel Gedge Ltd. in August 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Kelly Daughtridge in March 2018.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA