holy water fonts; bénetier

[holy water font] (Latin: fons, fountain)

Vessels for holding holy water. They are sometimes imbedded in the walls, and sometimes rest on a pedestal. The shell-shaped font which has persisted was introduced in the 17th century. The most ancient portable fonts for use in aspersions were pails of lead or bronze covered with silver. The present form of the aspersorium was introduced in the 13th century. Private fonts are usually in the shape of a very small basin attached to the wall by means of a plate.

New Catholic Dictionary

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