14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts Level 1, NGV International
A pax (Latin for peace) was an object employed in the ceremony of the Mass, where it was displayed on an altar table and passed around at the blessing by the priest for the congregation to kiss. In early Christian times churchgoers gave one another a kiss of peace. By the thirteenth century this custom had been replaced by the passing and kissing of the pax. Paxes formed part of the furnishings of all churches and usually bore depictions of scenes associated with the death of Christ.