St. Oswald’s Museum, housed in the presbytery in Sauris di Sotto, was founded to document the history of the community, in particular, events associated with worshipping St. Oswald and the sanctuary named after him, that in the 17th and 18th centuries became a place of worship of a certain importance in the Friuli and Veneto regions. The exhibition illustrates certain aspects and phases of this devotion. In the first showcase, there are some 15th and 16th century parchments from the parish archives that bear witness to the consecration of the churches in Sauris, the concession of indulgence to visitors and the ratification of popular patronage, that is the right of the community to elect its own parish priest, formally exercised in Sauris until the 1970s. Other showcases are dedicated to silverware and sacred vestments. Many of these objects are votive offerings, donated in particular by Venetian worshippers. A beautiful collection of astylar crosses, ciboria, chalices, reliquaries, silver chandeliers bear witness to the devotion of Venetian goldsmiths, whose guild had chosen St. Oswald as its patron saint and protector. The 17th century lantern-shaped reliquary that holds the relic of St. Oswald is also of Venetian manufacture. A 15th gilt-copper reliquary, with white and blue enamel work, was made in a workshop in either Friuli or Veneto, influenced by the style of the famous goldsmith from Udine, Niccolò Lionello. The presence, among these objects, of an ostensoria and reliquary clearly of German manufacture (Augsburg) proves that among the pilgrims who attended the sanctuary, there were also the cramârs, street vendors who, from the Carnia area, reached countries beyond the Alps.
The sacred vestments cover a time span that ranges between the 17th and the 19th centuries and they document the evolution in decorative taste and style. They come from factories in the Friuli, Veneto and France and are proof of the main weaving and embroidery techniques: brocatel, lampas, damask and satin. Some of the vestments can be traced back to their donors, as in the case of the chasuble donated “by devoted Venetians in 1750”, or of another bearing the papal emblem and the symbol of the Dominican order (a dog with a torch in its mouth), donated to the Sauris sanctuary by Pope Benedict XIV through the Archdeacon of Tolmezzo Carlo Camucio, who had gone to the Pope to invoke plenary indulgence for all pilgrims who went to Sauris.
Other votive offerings bear witness to a devotion that may have been “poorer” in terms of materials and the size of the objects, yet no less fervent, as in the curious “anatomical” offerings (such as arms and legs) or small paintings on wood. There are also two interesting 17th century paintings that portray the St. Oswald’s life and they are examples of “open offerings”, as they leave an unpainted strip at the disposal of pilgrims should they wish to insert a dedication.
A 18th century wax and fabric nativity scene completes the exhibition.
The Ethnographical Centre in Sauris di Sopra also takes part in two collaboration projects:
- "Rete Museale Provinciale 2009-2013" (2009-2013 Provincial Museum Network), promoted by the Udine Provincial Board, aimed at qualifying and enhancing the value of the museum heritage as well as the permanent Collections accessible to the public that are present throughout the entire provincial territory. http://www.provincia.udine.it/musei/italiano/Pages/default.aspx
-"Rete Museale della Carnia” (Carnic Museum Network), promoted by the Carnic Mountain Community to carry out co-ordinated functions, services and activities with the aim of promoting and enhancing the value of Museums and permanent Exhibitions in the Carnia area. http://www.carniamusei.org/index.html
33020 SAURIS (UD)