The Eucharistic dove appears at that time. By comparison with the ornaments of the châsses the specialists separate two generations, respectively dated 1200-1220 and 1215-1235.
This zoomorphic utensil is a lidded receptacle used for the host. The bird is standing on a base that supports the hooks for its suspension. The hanging position may prompt the faithful to recognize the action of the Holy Spirit whose symbol is the dove since the Gospel of St. Matthew. Above all, it enables to keep the sacramental bread away from the appetite of the rodents.
A 18 cm high enamel and gilt champlevé dove with a raised head was sold for $ 1,95M including premium by Sotheby's on June 8, 2007 over a lower estimate of $ 500K. Its base was realized in the 19th century in conformity with the original model, probably by Frédéric Spitzer to whom this piece belonged. Sotheby's catalog indicated that no such dove had been auctioned for more than 25 years.
On January 26 in New York, Sotheby's sells a bent headed dove of same height mingling the characteristics of both generations, lot 138 estimated $ 200K. It belonged also to Spitzer and its base was similarly made in the 19th century. It retains a vertical band inlaid with turquoise cabochons separating two rows of colored feathers.
This period of intense activity in Limoges is contemporary with the 4th Lateran Council which met in 1215. The council officially recognized the dogma of transubstantiation and consequently renewed the rite of communion with the hosts. There is no doubt that this decision encouraged the use of Eucharistic doves. 42 enameled doves are listed, from a single model but differing in their details. The Limoges dove certainly remained an instrument of luxury without a mass production.
SOLD for $ 800K including premium