Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Richard Leson

Committee Members

Tanya Tiffany


Blanche of Castile, Coffer, Heraldry, Limoges Enamels, Louis IX, Saint Louis


The Casket of Saint Louis, a small coffer, decorated with enamel medallions and heraldic shields, includes the arms of Louis IX of France and his mother Blanche of Castile among 21 members of the French nobility from the early thirteenth century. It holds special significance for the understanding of medieval France's political landscape. Ensembles of heraldry that appear on objects and monuments of the thirteenth century reveal more than individual identities: they define relationships and illuminate political events. The Casket of Saint Louis invokes political and social networks and events relating to the Capetian dynasty in the years before Louis IX reached his majority. The large number of powerful (and sometimes hostile) members of the nobility represented on the casket, arranged in an ordered, courtly space created by the decorations, affirm the power and stability of Capetian authority under Blanche of Castile's rule. In contrast to the earlier scholarship, I argue that Blanche of Castile likely served as patron or recipient of the casket.