Once a year in August, when most of Europe is on summer vacations and there is a slight interlude in treasure hunting, I too take time to slow down and cherish every moment of the waning summer. As the days are getting significantly shorter I sit in my garden soaking up the last warmth and sunlight of the season.
This is also the time for opening my cupboards and pulling out a few rare collections for the annual polishing. These are some of my precious treasures collected during decades while travelling across the globe. Each piece is a one of a kind gem, created two, three or even more centuries ago. Most of their provenance has been lost through the passage of time, yet somehow their imprinted ancient memories are communicating with me mainly through my own imagination.
One of my remarkable collections consist of antique crowns created for devotional statues of saints. They are elaborate creations of exceptional beauty with intricate patterns created in solid silver. In the past some of the most prominent saints in the Christian world would be adorned with these crowns representing their heavenly abode. These statues would be placed in public places of worship or on private altars giving the devotees a sacred space for prayers and meditation.
I don’t really know why I started to collect such treasures in the first place. Most probably because of their outstanding beauty that in some way captivated my imagination. It was never meant to be a collection but one by one, these treasures made their way into my hands, my home and my heart. And now, some twenty years later after purchasing the very first one in a street market of the Italian city of Lucca I can count thirty of these treasures in my special assemblage.
Interestingly I can hardly remember what I had for a breakfast this morning but I do know the place and time where I found every single piece of my collection. Maybe this is why we collect, to keep a memory alive as well as be the temporary guardians of such treasures before we pass them to a new generation of collectors… Just a thought on a hot summer’s day in the South of France.