Baptismal Bowl
c. 1850
6.75" x 12.75" x 10"
Silver, Silver
Region: Argentina
Through baptism, the non-initiated (usually, but not necessarily, a child) is introduced into the Church of Christ. According to official doctrine it was Christ – himself initiated by John the Baptist – who instituted the sacrament of baptism, and he subsequently sent out his disciples to baptize. While evoking the formula officially recognized ("I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost") during the ceremony of baptism, the officiating priest pours water over the head of the baptized. The holy oils, the evocation of the Holy Trinity, and water are the prerequisites for a valid baptism. This baptism shell was used to pour the water over the head of the baptized. This elaborate baptismal shell features detailed rocaille and vegetal ornamentation. Mercury is seen holding his caduceus as he rides a fish, surrounded by flowers.