Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Possible Knight Templar Relic

Various sources are carrying this UPI story:

LEEDS, England, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A piece of painted wood found at a rummage sale is a priceless 1,300-year-old Knight's Templar relic, a British antiques dealer says.

Martin Roberts of Leeds, England, acquired the piece in a swap for a pine chest and six Victorian glass handles, the Daily Mail reported Monday.

He showed it to other dealers who concluded the 10-inch by 4-inch piece was most likely from a tabernacle used by the Knights Templar to carry religious items, the Mail reported.

"It's a door or a lid, and there may well be a museum out there exhibiting the other half of the box it came from," Roberts said, adding the piece is to be sold by the auction house Christie's in London in December. Roberts said he has no idea how much money the piece will bring.

In 2007, Roberts bought an antique for $83 that turned out to be an Egyptian artifact. He later sold it for $50,000, the Mail said.

The Knights Templar, among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders, existed for about two centuries in the Middle Ages.

According to another account in The Independent:

The former professional golf player astonished experts who insisted on wearing gloves to examine his latest find when he told them that he had driven around for two weeks with the tabernacle on the dashboard of his van.

“When I touched it, it sent shivers through me,” he said yesterday. It was initially checked out by a dealer in Doncaster who suggested the polychrome cartoon images could be of St George and the Dragon. But he now believes it is more likely to be a Roman stabbing a Turk – a reference to the Crusades as well as a priest carrying a cross. A second expert suggested that its origins could be traced back to the Orthodox Church between 700 and 1200.

The door was found at Masham, North Yorkshire, close to Middleham Castle, the former home of Richard III which dates back to the time of the Norman Conquest. One theory is that it may have fallen into the possession of one of the influential residents that inhabited the castle, known as the Windsor of the North.


Geoff said...

Great story. Don't see the link to the Templars, what with the Byzantine style figures...

Lightning has struck Martin Roberts not once, or twice- but THREE times in a career of only 7 years or so.

Yorkshire Post-
"A bronze Egyptian figure dating back to 600BC has been found in a box of tourist souvenirs at a North Yorkshire auction house.
Antiques dealer Martin Roberts discovered the seven-inch figure of the Egyptian god Osiris while viewing lots at Thompson's Auctioneers in Killinghall, near Harrogate. He snapped up the item for £70, but hopes it will sell for 30 times that sum at another auction next month.

It would be the second big windfall in 12 months for Mr Roberts, who paid £50 for another Egyptian figure last year and sold it for £30,000.
Remarkably, that piece, a four-inch royal shabti torso dating back to 1386BC, was also bought at Thompson's."

Remarkable. Or else he's slowly selling off a very ancient treasure trove?

Gordon Napier said...

I don't see any intrinsic evidence of Templar associations, but it does resemble the Sinai icons produced in St Catherine's Monastery during the crusader period, with much Byzantine influence. I know of another one similarly featuring St George, which was likewise linked to the Templars purely on the basis that the saint was carrying a red cross banner.

In the light of the comment by Geoff and the last post on my own blog about Shaun Greenhalgh, I'm starting to have my suspicions.