Courtesy Kahnawake Cultural Center, Kahnawake, Québec, Canada

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Ostensor or Monstrance

The French missionaries of the 17th century sought ways to make their religion understood by Native Americans. They associated the monstrance or ostensor with the sun, which was revered by Natives as a source of life. An ostensor is a receptacle in which the Host (a wafer that is considered transformed into the body of Jesus Christ) is displayed for adoration during the Catholic Mass. The Catholic religious doctrine imposed certain rituals on its devotees such as participation in the ceremony of Mass. This ornate, 17th-century ostensor is from the St. Francis Xavier Catholic church in the village of Kahnawake, Province of Québec, near Montréal. It was given to the Jesuit Fathers there in 1668 to honor their Church of the Iroquois.

Date: circa 1668 
Topic: Ceremonial 
Materials: Silver, gold
Dimensions: H: 23 in.(58.4 cm.), W: 11 in.(27.9 cm.)  
Accession #: currently unavailable

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