It has been some time since we had a quiz, so as a reminder of the procedure: Please give your answer in the combox, along with any and all details you think pertinent to it. To keep it more interesting, please leave your answer before reading the other comments. We are always pleased to hear humorous answers as well. The photograph does show the item out of context, as I have done before; but there are also two subtle hints in the photo itself, which you can click on to enlarge. There is also something in the photograph completely irrelevant to the item.
The Answer : This one was obviously a little easy; it is indeed the cover of a baptismal font, but what a cover! Congratulations to those who got the right answer. The hints are the wire holding it suspended over the font, which can be seen in the middle of the upper part of the photo, and the Paschal candle in the lower left. The irrelevant part is the Christmas tree. Here you can see the whole of the font. These photos were taken at the Monastery of the Assumption in Diessen, Bavaria; I will shortly post several more photos of this amazing and very well maintained gem of the German Baroque.
The Award for Best Wildly Incorrect Answer goes to Henry Gaida, for “a ‘sounding board’ or ‘baldachino‘ ’ over an elevated pulpit - this helps to project the sound of the voice” .... downwards? JC Saulnier runs away with the Best Humorous Answer: “A festive gallero worn only by Austrian Cardinals at Vespers on Christmas. Due to its strange shape, the gallero had to be supported by a rope attaching it to the ceiling, which had the unfortunate effect that it could only be worn while standing next to the Christmas tree. Its use has been restricted since Vatican II.” Chapeau, sir, and thanks to all those who participated!