High Relief Statues in the North transept; interior, reverse of west facade, right side, of
Reims Cathedral
la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims

France, 13th century, after 1251

MelchizedekAbraham'King of Sodom'(?) in scale armour
A characteristic instance of the elegant style is the fine group of Melchizedek and Abraham, carved shortly after the middle of the century for the interior west wall of Reims Cathedral. Abraham, in the costume of a medieval knight, still recalls the vigorous realism of the St. Theodore at Chartres. Melchizedek, however, shows clearly his descent from the angel of the Reims Annunciation. His hair and beard are even more elaborately curled, the draperies more lavishly ample, so that the body almost disappears among the rich play of folds. The deep recesses and sharply projecting ridges betray a new awareness of effects of light and shadow that seem more pictorial than sculptural. The same may be said of the way the figures are placed in their cavernous niches.
Source: History of Architecture and Sculpture (fig. 490)



Abram Blessed by Melchizedek

17 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
     maker of heaven and earth;
20 and blessed be God Most High,
     who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything. 21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the Lord, God Most High, maker of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or anything that is yours, so that you might not say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their share.”
(Genesis 14:17-24)



Referenced in A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries by Sir Guy Francis Laking, 'Overview and Armour (Hauberk)'



Referenced on p33, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle.
40   'King of Sodom', statue, County of Champagne, 1275-1300
(in situ inside west front of Cathedral, Reims, France)

This figure is believed to represent the King of Sodom alongside Abraham and Melchizadek, the priest-king of Salem following the defeat of Chedorlaomer (XIV Gen. 12-24). The king is dressed in one of the finest and most elaborate versions of fanciful armour in 13th-century French sculpture. Various features may reflect reports by soldiers returning from Spain or the eastern Mediterranean, or the influence of booty and souvenirs brought back by such men. The fluted helmet and the decoration of the round shield, as well as the waist sash, could be examples of this influence.



See also Melchizedek Blesses Abram, British Library, MS Cotton Claudius B IV, Hexateuch
Other 13th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers