Burial of Christ, Visitatio Sepulchri, Christ in Limbo, Noli me tangere
The scene of the Burial of Christ ends the series of representations of the earthly life of Christ, which is also treated in the two following capitals (N03FL03, N04FL04). Flanked by two trees, the Burial of Christ is represented on the east side of the capital; it is only mentioned in John’s Gospel (Jn 19:38-42). Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus lay the body of Christ, “bound in linen cloths with the spices” (Jn 19:40), in a richly decorated sarcophagus, which rests on four columns. Over it flutter two angels descending from heaven; they each hold a censer and a chalice in their hands.
The scene of the Holy Women (the Three Marys) at the grave is shown on the west side, where one of three women is kneeling – her figure is severely damaged – while the two others stand on the corner of the south side. On the opposite side of the grave an angel points with one hand to the empty tomb, while with his other he holds a small cross. He breaks the news of the Resurrection of Christ to the Three Marys. Above the sarcophagus, between two curtains drawn back to the sides, a censer hangs from a semi-circular arch, with little turrets set in the spandrels.
Christ’s descent to the underworld is shown on the north and the Noli me tangere on the south side of the capital. In the episode of Christ in Limbo, the Risen Lord with the cross in his left hand stretches his right arm down to Abraham and so liberates both him and Adam, who stands behind him, from the underworld. Three further figures stand amid the flames in the fiery furnace. Over them a devil is carrying a condemned man on his shoulders, while another is being tossed head over heels into Hades.
On the south side of the capital Mary Magdalene is kneeling under a tree. Christ appears before her; he holds a staff topped with a cross.