Votives on display (Part 1)

Last weekend I was at the 2015 Classical Association Conference in Bristol and, after my paper on the sensory experience of dedicating infant votives, I was asked a question about where these votive objects were placed and how were they ‘displayed’. If they were placed on an altar or something similar, I was asked, could…

Votives and conflict: postscript

A few weeks ago I wrote a post inspired by an article published in 1918, in which the classicist Eugene S. McCartney described some of the votive objects and dedicatory activities that he had encountered at holy sites during the First World War. The sites he visited included the cathedral of St. Andre, Bordeaux (France)…

Votives and conflict

Last year, on the anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, Jess Hughes wrote about votive paintings dedicated by Italian soldiers and their families. Recently, when searching for something entirely different, I stumbled across an article published in 1918 by Eugene S. McCartney. It presents an account of his personal encounters, in 1916…

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…

Votives on Mount Banahaw

Paul-François Tremlett is Lecturer in Religious Studies at The Open University, UK From 1999-2000 and again in 2003 and 2009 I conducted field work on the slopes of Mount Banahaw among religious movements venerating the Filipino national hero José Rizal as the Filipino Christ, and healers who regard the mountain as a site of spiritual…

Seated couple plaque

Multiple votive offerings

Gina Salapata is Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at Massey University, New Zealand. I have recently studied an aspect of votive practice that has so far remained unexplored: small offerings acquired, dedicated and displayed in multiples. There is a tacit assumption that each dedicant offered only one votive offering on a particular occasion. But nothing…

Offerings in Bangalore

Peter Stewart is Director of the Classical Art Research Centre and Associate Professor in Classical Art and Archaeology in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Oxford. In the first posting on this blog, Jessica Hughes mentioned an intriguing case of ephemeral votives — the sort of offering that leaves no traces for archaeologists to…

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’…

Objects and Remembering

Last Friday (20th June) I attended a conference on ‘Objects and Remembering’ at the University of Manchester. The event brought together people working on the relationship between objects and memory from a number of different perspectives – archaeology, history, museum and heritage studies, forensics and geology. It was a highly stimulating day, full of lively…

Waxing lyrical on the materiality of votives

A few weeks ago I was alerted to a post on the MEDMED-L mailing list (medieval medical history) in which Jim Chevallier made the following observation: ‘In 1389, a merchant accompanying Charles VI to Avignon had a wax statue made in the ailing King’s image, as an ex-voto, to put on the tomb of Pierre…

Making votives

Jen Grove is an ancient historian, researcher and workshop facilitator at makinglearning. In this blog post, she discusses recreating the ancient practice of votive-making with the public Hanging my Heart is a community project inspired by the ancient practice of votive-giving. Since their modern discovery across the ancient Greek and Roman world, hoards of little objects at shrines and temples…

Etruscan Votives and Health?

Professor Jean MacIntosh Turfa is a Consulting Scholar in the Mediterranean Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, where she helped reinstall the Kyle M. Phillips Etruscan Gallery. She has participated in excavations at Etruscan Poggio Civitate (Murlo), ancient Corinth, Dragonby (Lincolnshire), and native and colonial sites in the USA. She…

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…

Wombs and tombs

A recent paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science uses DNA evidence to assert that Roman infanticide was not selective, and that girls were killed no more frequently than their brothers. The paper does not question whether infanticide was a reality of ancient life, but does stress that it was not used to ‘manipulate the…

Shadowy figures

‘Ombra della sera’, or ‘evening shadow’, is the name usually used to describe a distinctive bronze votive recovered from the region of Volterra (Etruscan Velathri, Roman Volaterrae) first exhibited in the early 18th century. The thin, elongated figure, made during the 3rd century BC, is most well-known for inspiring the work of the Swiss artist…

‘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…