Dutch silver pyx
Carolus van Dockum
90 grams, 5.3 cm high
The pyx consists of to cylindrical receptacles with reeded borders and detachable covers. The larger one below has a gilt interior. Its cover is engraved with sunbeams, circumventing the smaller receptacle that is placed on top. The cover of the smaller box is slightly domed with a circular flat top. Fully marked at the reverse and displaying an assay stripe.
A pyx is a small cylindrical container, used in the Catholic Church for carrying the consecrated host (Eucharist), to the sick and the elderly who are unable to go to church in order to receive the Holy Communion. This pyx is also fitted with a receptacle the Holy Oil for the anointment of the sick. The Eucharist is the body of Christ and it Holy. Therefore, the receptacle has a gilt interior. Likewise, all chalices and ciboriums have gilt interiors, for they contain wine (blood of Christ) and Eucharis (body of Christ).
Carolus van Dockum (Den Bosch ca. 1656- Breda 1732) became a master in Breda in 1682, after he had been an apprentice in Den Bosch (Bois –le- Duc) in Anthonie van Loon’s workshop. Over the years he employed many apprentices himself, one of them being his own son Isaac van Dockum, from January 1702. Carolus van Dockum held the position of Dean of the Breda silversmiths’ guild nine times (years). The reason why he exchanged Den Bosch for Breda must have been Catharina Adriaen Stickers, a tin maker’s daughter from Breda, whom he married on 5 May 1682.
Carolus van Dockum’s oeuvre consists of many liturgical objects that were intended for the Catholic Church. Like his Den Bosch master Anthonie van Loon, Carolus van Dockum’s opted for the tulip as his maker’s mark.
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-J.P.W.H.A van Rijen et al., Zilver en zilversmeden uit de Baronie van Breda, Breda’s Museum, 2000, p. 266 (biography)