Most of the paintings and sculptures in the treasures come from the cathedral or its outbuildings. After secularisation, some items were also transferred from the nearby Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) to the cathedral treasures.
Originally, there were 33 altars in Halberstadt Cathedral, with yet more in small side chapels. The pictorial decorations ranged from painted and carved retables and wall frescoes to sculptures. Of these works, some 20 altarpieces or parts thereof have survived, along with the same number of separate figures. Some items and altars still enhance the cathedral today, and a large number are in the upper chapter house of the cathedral treasures. Most pieces date from the time the cathedral was completed, between 1470 and 1530.
The altar of the Madonna with the coral necklace is particularly striking. This early International Gothic piece was created for the Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, consecrated in 1362 on the east side of the cathedral.