This spectacular chasse, or reliquary casket, is part of a large group produced in Limoges in the late 12th through the 13th century, which are among some most dazzling and sophisticated of the Medieval enamel work produced. And while it cannot be linked to a specific craftsman, almost all of the decorative elements link it directly to many of these famous Limoges chasse. The vivid, though subtle and balanced color scheme with its lapis-lazuli, sky-blue, green, yellow and white enamels, is perhaps the most striking characteristic of the present chasse. It was conceived at a time when the Limousin artists were both experimenting with and perfecting the colors and gradations of color for which their works were so celebrated. The brilliant horizontal bands, primarily of lapis-lazuli, perhaps dominate the present chasse and the inclusion of the modeled relief heads give it an additionally rich decorative motif. These heads, while sculpture in their own right, are however, the same three heads repeated in both the front gable and front panel. They have been simply rotated to give the illusion of conforming to three figures on horseback and three different figures seated.
There was a close relationship between the enamel workshops and those of miniature painting, often existing in the same monasteries, and the enamels were often directly inspired by the miniaturists, both in the composition of the scenes and in their backgrounds. The three figures of the central panel on the present chasse which are enclosed within rhomboids and linked by four circles are particularly close to many of these miniatures. The rear gable and panel, with their dense pattern of quatrefoil decoration, even more clearly show these links to manuscript decoration (see I. B. Barsali, European Enamels, London, 1969, p. 40). The rear gable and rear panel of the present chasse, with their rich quatrefoil decoration, are also close to manuscript decoration and closely relate to many contemporary Limoges pieces, especially chasse, and the chasse in the Museo Civico, Altamura, is one particularly close example (see P. Giusti, Medioevo e produzione artistica di serie: smalti di Limoges e avori gotici in Campagni, exh. cat., Naples, 1981, p. 16).
The front lower plaque of the present chasse also relates to the composition and decoration of a chasse in the Museo Arqueológico, Burgos. Three seated figures are contained within large lozenge-shaped surrounds, the gradated border of dark blue to white is of the same design as well. In addition, these borders do not completely surround the panels (see M.-M. Gauthier, Émaux du moyen âge occidental, Fribourg, 1972, p. 329).
A chasse in the collection of E. and M. Kofler-Truniger, Lucerne also bears many similarities to the present chasse, the brilliant blue lapis ground contrasted against the lighter blue-gray of the front among other stylistic similarities (see H. Schnitzler, et al., Email, Goldschmiede und Metallarbeiten: Europäisches Mittelalter, vol. II, Lucerne, 1965, no. E6).