Devotion and Cultural Patrimony

How can we understand the relationship between religious devotion and cultural patrimony? How does the performance and documenting of sacred rituals intersect with the construction of collective memory? These questions are explored in a new volume entitled Linguaggi della devozione. Forme espressive del patrimonio sacro [‘Languages of Devotion: Expressive Forms of Sacred Patrimony’ ] edited…

Describing Depositions

Andreas M. Murgan works at the Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. As we know, it was a common phenomenon to sacrifice objects in ancient sanctuaries and deposit them as a gift to the gods. It is not surprising, therefore, that we often find traces of such dedications in the form of pits or…

The keys to the sanctuary

A new Italian catalogue records the results of recent excavations at the ancient Faliscan sanctuary of Monte Li Santi-Le Rote at Narce, which is located 9km south of the ancient settlement of Falerii (modern Civita Castellana). The assemblage of votives from this sanctuary is completely unique, and the publication, entitled I Tempi del Rito [Times…

Votives as ‘Self Evidence’

Just published over on the Wellcome Collection blog – some thoughts on how votives relate to the forensics principle ‘Every contact leaves a trace’ (formulated by Edmond Locard). Self Evidence With thanks to Russell Dornan, digital editor at the Wellcome Collection

Blythe House Field Trip

On Friday 8th May The Votives Project had its inaugural field trip to Blythe House in London, which is the store and archive for The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science and British Museums and the Wellcome Collection. We spent a fascinating morning examining the anatomical votives collected by Henry Wellcome (that is, those which…

Miracles in Mexico

We’ve just received notice of a fantastic new website about votives and other ’empowered objects’ from Mexico. Miracles in Mexico is the companion website for Frank Graziano’s forthcoming book Miraculous Images and Votive Offerings in Mexico, which will be published later this year by Oxford University Press. The site hosts a selection of photographs taken by Professor Graziano during his fieldwork at shrines…

Our Daily Bread

Yesterday (11 March 2015) saw the opening of a new exhibition of ex-votos curated by the Fondazione Per Grazie Ricevute at the Palazzo Giureconsulti in Milan, entitled Give us today our daily bread: The Earth, the Harvest and Food from Antiquity to the Present.   The exhibition centres on the age-old themes of food, the earth and…

Ex-voto dedicated to Santa Rita of Cascia by Yves Klein, 1961 Dry pigment, gold leaves, gold bars and manuscript in a plexiglas box, 14 x 21 x 3.2 cm © Yves Klein / ADAGP, Paris, 2014

Yves Klein’s ex-voto to St Rita of Cascia

Ex-voto dedicated to Santa Rita of Cascia by Yves Klein, 1961 Dry pigment, gold leaves, gold bars and manuscript in a plexiglas box, 14 x 21 x 3.2 cm © Yves Klein / ADAGP, Paris, 2014   Just published over on the Material Religions blog – some thoughts about the Ex-voto made by Yves Klein…

Faites vos voeux!

An exhibition at the Musée de La Poste (hosted by the Musée du Montparnasse), Paris, showing until 3rd January 2015. Faites vos voeux! (Make your vows!) brings together thirteen French and international artists who draw on the concept and imagery of the ex-voto. I stumbled across this exhibition by chance when I was in Paris earlier this week, and will…

The First World War in Votives

Today (4th August 2014) is the centenary of the First World War, so it seems an appropriate moment to draw attention to an online collection of Italian ex voto paintings dedicated during WWI, primarily by soldiers and their families. The collection doesn’t include any images from 1914, so to illustrate this post I’ve chosen two tavolette which present episodes from later years…

Graffiti as ex-voto?

Most of the votives that we have featured so far on this blog are objects in the conventional sense – three-dimensional ‘things’ that can be held, carried into a sanctuary, and get moved around once they are in there. And it’s probably true that most people – if asked to ‘think of a votive offering’…

Handing over the votive chicken

Votive chickens

Every year on the Sunday after Easter, the town of Pagani – situated between Naples and Salerno – celebrates the feast-day of the Madonna delle Galline, or ‘Madonna of the Chickens’. The festival has become quite well known throughout Italy in recent years on account of the traditional tammorre music that gets played there. The…

Films and stones

In the opening scene of Emanuele Crialese’s 2006 film Nuovomondo (English title The Golden Door), the camera follows a man and his son as they clamber barefoot over a rocky landscape. Dirty and shabbily dressed, they use their hands to pull themselves upwards over the never-ending boulders. They carry large stones in their mouths, and…

An exhibition of ex votos in Milan

If you go to Milan, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Casa del Manzoni, which since December has been the home of the Fondazione Per Grazie Ricevute. The Fondazione is a non-profit institution which was set up in July 2013 as a means of preserving and publicising an important private collection of Catholic votive…

‘Tap and Pray’

Welcome to our blog! To start us off, here’s a link to a fascinating news story about the economy of votives in modern-day Sri Lanka, where the custom of offering prayer money in temples has apparently contributed to a coin shortage. I’d really like to know more about the Central Bank’s suggestion that worshippers now…