Det befolkade rummet: Relikfyndet från Torsken kyrka


  • Lena Liepe UiT The Arctic University of Norway



medeltid, relik, krucifix, Torsken, närvaro, träskulptur, helgon, altare


Taking its point of departure in the finding of a bag of relics tucked away under the chin of a late medieval wooden Christ figure from Torsken Church, Senja, this essay discusses relics as an essential feature of the medieval church room. Through the relics – deposited in the sepulchres of the altars, encased in reliquaries made from precious metals or, as in the case of the Torsken crucifix, contained within wooden cult images – the saints became present and accessible as addressees of intercessions. The role of relics in medieval liturgy and devotion is accounted for, and the oscillation between visibility and invisibility, reality and representation, as played out by the Torsken crucifix with its relics, is explored. The visible, “realistic” or life-like figure of Christ is a mere representation, a manufactured similitude of the Son of Man, whereas it is the relics, hidden away in the bag, that manifest the actual presence of the higher, invisible but nevertheless true divine reality in the church room.

Author Biography

Lena Liepe, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

(f. 1962) er professor i kunsthistorie ved Institutt for Filosofi, Idé- og Kunsthistorie og Klassiske Språk, Universitetet i Oslo. Hennes hovedforskningsområde er middelalderens kirkelige kunst i Norden og Nordeuropa, med spesielt fokus på metodiske spørsmål. Publikasjoner: Studies in Icelandic 14th Century Book Painting (2009), Den medeltida kroppen. Kroppens och könets ikonografi i nordisk medeltid (2003), Medieval Stone Churches of Northern Norway. The Interpretation of Architecture as a Historical Process (2001), og Den medeltida träskulpturen i Skåne. Produktion och förvärv (1995).




How to Cite

Liepe, Lena. 2015. “Det befolkade rummet: Relikfyndet från Torsken kyrka”. Nordlit, no. 36 (December):261–274.