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  NAMUR : The Treasure of Hugo d'Oignies
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A selection of relic-holdersThe relic-holder of Saint Martin.The convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame (Couvent des Soeurs de Notre Dame) , situated in the rue Julie-Billiard, 17 is home to one of the most important and most beautiful art treasures in Belgium and Wallonia. Friar Hugo made this splendid collection of religious artifacts for a priory in the town of Oignies, now situated in the Belgian province of Hainaut. The treasure is proof that the work of the goldsmiths and artists of the Meuse Valley had reached an amazing level of skill and artistry by the 13th century. The art style of the Mosan artists would be replaced as from the 14th century by the French gothic style.


Selfportrait of Hugo in the gospel cover.At the end of the 12th century Hugo, a goldsmith from the town of Walcourt, arrived in Oignies, a small city in Hainaut, together with his brothers Gilles, Robert and Jean who were priests. They founded a religious community where Hugo, now a monk, had his workshop. In 1207 Marie d'Oignies, daughter from a rich and noble family, came to live close to the new priory where she took care of the lepers. This increased the fame of the religious community and more and more pilgrims visited Oignies. Among them was the French preacher (later Cardinal) Jacques de Vitry. He joined the order, but soon left for the Holy Land. When he came back he brought with him numerous important relics. Hugo made a set of splendid shrines and relic-holders so that the relics could be displayed to the public. The treasure was probably made around 1228-1230. Hugo seems to have died after 1240, because then no more items were added to the treasure. After the closure of the Oignies priory by the French Revolutionists, the treasure ended up in the possession of the Sisters of Notre Dame  where it still is today. 

A part of the cover for the gospel.

The treasure can be visited :

at the convent of 'Les Soeurs de Notre Dame' , rue Julie Billiart 17 - 5000 Namur.  Tel : +32-(0)81- 23.03.42. 

Daily from 10 am to 12 am and from 2 pm to 5 pm, except on Tuesdays, Sunday mornings, public holidays and from 11 November till 26 December.

For groups, please reserve a few days in advance.

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