Relief panel depicting St Francis Xavier

This carved panel shows one of the most famous miracles related to the Catholic missionary Saint Francis Xavier. When Francis Xavier was travelling between the islands of Ambon and Seram on his evangelizing mission, his ship encountered a storm, and Francis lost his crucifix in the rough waters. The ship managed to dock safely. Just then a crab appeared holding the crucifix in its claws, returning it to Francis Xavier. This is one of the most popular episodes from the life of the saint, and served as inspiration for many artworks after his death. From the panel’s size and high quality of carving, it was likely commissioned for a church.

17th century
Goa, India
Object size: 112.7 x 54.0 x 7.7 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum