Material objects play a role in all religions. Jewish women
light candles for the Sabbath; Christians sprinkle or douse bodies
with water to baptize; Hindus offer coconuts and clarified butter
to images of the gods and goddesses; the ancient Incas...
Reliquaries were designed as receptacles for tiny bundles of
sacred stuff such as handfuls of dust, pebbles from Biblical sites
in the Holy Land, tiny fragments of the hair, clothing, and even
bone of those deemed to be saints and martyrs by the...