Odds and quads

Of around 20 surviving maces made for universities in the Middle Ages, three are owned by the University of St Andrews. Probably the finest and most valuable is the St Salvator's College Mace shown here.

June 7, 2012

Within a framework of Gothic architecture, the figure of Christ - or St Salvator - displays wounds in His hands and sides.

Angels hold the instruments of Christ's Passion. The miniature building at the top is circled by a crowned figure, a mitred figure and one dressed as a layman (or scholar), representing the three "estates" of those who ruled, those who prayed and those who laboured.

Inscriptions reveal that James Kennedy, "the illustrious Bishop of St Andrews and founder of the College of St Salvator", commissioned the mace from Johne Maiel, "goldsmith and personal valet to the Crown Prince [of France]", in 1461.

It was used in what is still the university chapel, where Kennedy's extraordinary tomb stands to the north of the altar.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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