One of the most famous chalices is the Holy Grail -- the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper.
Chalices are sacred vessels in Christianity and are blessed.
The style of chalices have changed over the years, starting with drinking vessels resembling large bowls. Many of these had handles. One of the most famous of this design is the Medieval chalice known as the Ardagh Chalice of Ireland. In later years the style of the chalice was downsized. It took the form of a cup attached to a stem, a design we're familiar with today.
As for the individual designs, chalices have been made from wood, clay, pewter, silver and gold, and have been decorated with everything from jewels, ornate scroll work, enamel and even religious icons.
In the Roman Catholic church, chalices are often given as gifts to priests to mark special occasions. But Christianity is not the only religion to use these sacred cups. The chalice is also used in Wicca, representing the feminine aspect. It is used ceremoniously in rites.
Shadows of the Soul, a paranormal romance featuring angels and demon slayers, my hero and heroine are on a quest to find a sacred chalice that bears the antidote to a supernatural disease. I've always been in awe of tales of the Holy Grail and Arthur's Knights. While my novel is not Medieval, but rather contemporary, I was fascinated by the whole aspect of a sacred quest to find a magical cup. That led me to think of the outcome - where would my characters find the chalice? What would they discover in the magical cup? What would they resolve once they reached their goal?
Are you fascinated by mystical relics and quests?
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*Chalice images from wikipedia and newadvent