medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
previously i inquired of John Dillon
>John, do you have an idea of what this object is :
>looks like a giant parasol, made out of mums?
>parasols were a feature in middlevil processions, i'm thinking.
and got this typically thorough answer (which i shall chop up unmericfully) :
"John B. Dillon" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> It's what's called a 'candelora' ("standard Italian") or 'cannalora'
(Sicilian). ...."a great column of wood in the form of a candle, historiated
with bas-reliefs figuring individual aspects of daily life; it is decorated
with ribbons and flowers and is carried on people's shoulders through the
streets of Catania during the festival celebrations in honor of St.
> So not really parasols.
that curious shape of the top of the first one just reminded me of some other
curious shapes which i've seen on one (of the pitifully few) Pilgrims' Badges
which we have surviving from Chartres :
(specifically, those two "spade-shaped" objects being held by the two guys on
either side of the seated Virgin.)
"sylistically" this badge represents about the lowest level an image can get
to before it becomes more or less totally illegible and starts to morph into
something else entirely.
what's going on can be better understood by looking at other, better-quality
(and, perhaps, earlier) badges from (roughly) the same group.
here is one
with a procession consisting of two fellows (clerics?) carrying the great,
bejewelled reliquary of the _camisia_ of the Virgin on a bier --the image of
the Holy Nightshirt is superimposed on the box itself, presumably to identify
it by its contents, not because there was an actual image of the relic on the
the strange, large, round object below the bier is, apparently, a Chartrain
coin --which coins were struck with a distinctive "device", of which we have
here a very, very debased representation. nobody really knows why such a coin
should have been given such a prominent place on such a pilgrims' souvenir.
another badge in the group --perhaps the highest quality one to survive (so
far)-- also shows the reliquary and the coin on one face, but they seem to be
in some sort of architectural context, rather than being carried in procession
on the other face of this one we have a procession, again with a bier being
carried by two clerics(?), this time with a statue (presumably) of the
(Rod-bearing) Virgin and Child being carried.
though seated on the bier, she appears to be in an architectural context, (or,
perhaps, in a context which looked something like this
with two colums, supporting a trefoil arcade, lamps in the side arches,
candles(?) in large candle-stands below on each side and, directly below the
feet of the Virgin, several objects which *could* be identified as "hand
crutches" --votive offerings of miraculous cures, perhaps.
we do not have nearly enough surviving examples of these badges to allow us to
speculate what the relationship (the "iconographic lineage") of the one with
might have had with the others ; it would surely seem that we are lacking
quite a few intermediary "steps" in the creation of the image.
but, we do clearly have some continuities --the (now barely recognizable)
statue of the Rod-bearing Virgin and Child (that's His head protruding out of
Her right shoulder like some sort of grotesque appendage) being carried in a
procession, the lamps above (with the vestiges of an arch surviving on the
left side), and the hand-crutches below. (note that the fact that these badges
are *cast* in pewter from --presumably-- stone molds accounts for the
mirror-image shift in the position of the Child on the Virgin's lap, as well
as the illegibility of the written inscription running around the boarder of
but, the two spade/parasol shapes don't seem to belong to this lineage at
i want to read those objects as parasols, which i believe i have seen in other
pictures and representations of processions --hence my interest in those
round-toped objects being carried in your Agatha processions.
i wonder what
looked like, 6-700 years ago.
there seems to be another one of those peeking out from behind the column on
the left in this one:
shades of Bernini.
> PS: In my previous posting in this thread I referred to the "lost
6th(?)original" of Agatha's legendary Acta. That should, of course, have been
" lost 6th(?)-century original".
best from here,
"Lots of useless other data points just enlarge the consciousness of the
agrieved showing how particular the pain is."
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