The Grand Symbol ( The Great Monstrance of Arfe )
“The most important object kept in the Chapel of the Treasure is the great Monstrance of Arfe, also known as La Gran Ostensoria de Toledo. Made of the finest silver and gold and bejeweled with gems, it measures over ten feet tall. The monstrance is famous for being used in the annual feast of Corpus Christi of Toledo.The creator of the Great Monstrance was the metalworker Enrique de Arfe, born Heinrich von Harff, originally from Julich or Harff near Cologne, Germany.
Arfe labored on it from 1517–1524, on commission to Cardinal Cisneros.
It is of late Gothic design. This triumph of the silversmith’s craft is
in the form of a Gothic temple, with all the architectural details, such
as columns, arches, and vaultings, the whole resembling a delicate
lacework. Scenes from the life of the Saviour are illustrated in relief.
It has two hundred and sixty statuettes of various sizes, all
exhibiting the same skill in workmanship.
The Great Monstrance has a hexagonal base, and rises on small
exquisitely made columns, with adornments of gems and varied figurines
of angels and saints, fleurons, small bells and clappers. The work is
crowned in the uppermost section by a 17th-century cross. The pedestal
on which it sits is in the Baroque style of the 18th century. Originally
made of silver, Archbishop Quiroga commissioned its gilding to match
the gold plated wood of the monstrance of the altar; it was gilded in
1595 by Valdivieso and Morino. Today it is encased under bulletproof
glass and heavily guarded by an automatic security system within the
grounds of the cathedral.”