A stay in Paris for the Treasure of Oignies

12th of February 2024

The Treasure of Oignies, an amazing collection of 13th century gold- and silverware is temporarily leaving Belgium. Between 19 March and 20 October 2024, the Cluny Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris is presenting a selection of the finest pieces of gold and silver from the treasure in an exhibition entirely dedicated to them: Merveilleux Trésor d’Oignies : éclats du XIIIe siècle (the Marvellous Treasure of Oignies: 13th Century Brilliance).

One of the Seven Wonders of Belgium

The Treasure of Oignies, which comprises some fifty pieces, is a testimony to the exceptional skill and quality of Gothic silverwork. The amazing sophistication of the objects, their technical mastery, the rare and precious materials used and their excellent state of conservation, as well as the particular history associated with them have secured an international reputation for this extremely rare 13th century treasure. In 1978, the Treasure of Oignies was designated one of the Seven Wonders of Belgium and its pieces were listed by the Walloon-Brussels Federation as exceptional moveable cultural heritage.

A secure future

In 2010, the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur transmitted the treasure to the King Baudouin Foundation in order to ensure its preservation and make it permanently accessible to the general public. The Foundation has entrusted the treasure to the Musée Provincial des Arts Anciens du Namurois (TreM.a), where it is usually exhibited, whilst the Archaeological Society of Namur contributes to research and promotion of this inestimable heritage.

A first for the treasure

This is the first time that this prestigious treasure will leave Belgium, almost in its entirety, exactly one hundred years after a presentation of three pieces from the collection at the Louvre Museum in 1824. In the Cluny Museum exhibition, some thirty pieces able to withstand being transported are being presented: silverware, comprising mainly reliquaries, and a selection of textiles. Some of the major works to be seen include the Reliquary of the Virgin’s Milk, the Reliquary of St. Peter’s Rib, the silver binding plates of the Oignies Book of the Gospels, and the chalice and paten said to have belonged to Gilles de Walcourt.

The exhibition

The exhibition recounts the history of the Priory of Oignies and its protagonists and highlights the work produced at the priory by silversmith Hugo d’Oignies and members of his workshop. The King Baudouin Foundation is giving its support to the exhibition, which is an initiative of the Cluny Museum and the Musée Provincial des Arts Anciens du Namurois (TreM.a), where the Treasure of Oignies is usually kept. Through its Heritage & Culture Programme, the King Baudouin Foundation has a mission to promote its collection and make it accessible to the general public.

Practical information
Exhibition ‘Merveilleux Trésor d’Oignies: éclats du 13e siècle’
Musée de Cluny
28 Rue Du Sommerard
F - 75005 Paris
From 19 March to 20 October 2024
(Open every day, except Mondays, from 9h30 to 18h15. Late night openings on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month, from 18h15 to 21h)
Tickets €12, reduced tariff €10