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…

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…

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…

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…