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…

Votives on display (Part 2)

In ‘Votives on display (Part 1)’ I wrote quite generally about how votives might have been displayed in ancient sacred spaces. In this second part I want to try out some ideas about how particular types of ancient Italian anatomical votives might have been displayed and suggest that thinking about this might offer some new…

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)…

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…

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…

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…

A Timeline of Offerings from the Source of the Douix

Katherine M. Erdman has recently completed her doctorate at the Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota. The Source of the Douix, a freshwater spring situated within the town of Châtillon-sur-Seine, has been visited by local inhabitants for the past 2,500 years. While there is a strong tradition of spring veneration in eastern France during the Gallo-Roman period…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Votives in the news

Every so often we plan to bring you a summary of recent news stories featuring votives of all types from around the world, past and present. We hope that these will showcase the many and varied ways in which votives continue to have relevance in the modern world, as well as providing a useful resource…