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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Hi Gordon.
Responding as an unlearned one, here is my take.
The background structure may just as easily be recognized, not as a city,
but as a church - a church building representing, I would guess, the
concept of 'The Church' (the spiritual community).
The building looks a lot like a 3 story basilica with a detached bell-tower
or possibly a baptistery on the left and a rounded apse on the right.
My reading considers that baptism is all about the washing away of original
sin and welcoming the catechumen  into the church for the first time, as a
ritual of initiation.
In some places the candidate was not welcomed into the church without first
undergoing baptism. Accordingly in many places the baptism font was located
a separate building called a baptistery, as in Florence for example.
The iconography of your font simply shows Adam and Eve being expelled from
the garden for their act of original sin with the angel driving them away
from the building. To me this iconography simply teaches that the baptisms
to be performed using this font will cleanse candidates of the original sin
of Adam and Eve, undoing the Expulsion and allowing them to enter the
Church depicted as a building in the background of the relief.

A good example expressing the idea of a baptism taking place outside a
church building is an Ivory carving (Late Carolingian ivory binding, c.
870), showing the Baptism of Clovis:
https://www.medieval.eu/the-merovingians/

Another good example that is a good match for your font is from the
Leiden Saint
Louis Psalter 9 recto that you cite in the commentary for one of your other
pictures. It shows an Expulsion scene taking place with a building in the
background that also looks very much like a church.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saint_Louis_Psalter_9_recto.jpg

Cheers,

Richard J Legault



On Fri, Jun 28, 2019 at 9:39 AM Gordon Plumb <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
> On the 12th-century Tournai marble font at East Meon in Hampshire the
> Expulsion scene shows the angel with the flaming sword driving Adam & Eve
> from
> what is recognisably a city - see my image on Flickr here:
>
> https://www.flickr.com/photos/22274117@N08/14533519943
>
> Learned ones, do you know of any other examples of this and can you
> suggest the origin of this iconographical peculiarity?
>
> Gordon Plumb
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