Gem with the Virgin Hodegeteria holding the Christ Child - ROM2010_11707_53

ROM2010_11707_53

Gem with the Virgin Hodegeteria holding the Christ Child

Medium:Engraved bloodstone or jasper
Geography: Attributed to Constantinople, (modern Istanbul) Turkey
Date: about 11th century AD
Period: Byzantine period
Dimensions:
1.9 x 1.5 cm
Object number: 949X161.20
On view
Gallery Location:Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of Byzantium
Description

The early Byzantines believed in the power of God and the saints and the skill of physicians to cure and prevent illness. At the same time there was a strong belief that magic could heal or protect a person from sickness and misfortune. These beliefs manifested themselves in a number of ways, such as the wearing of apotropaic (evil-averting) amulets and jewellery. Biblical phrases were often added to the amulets to enhance their magical powers.

The "Virgin Hodegetaria" is often called the "Our Lady of the Way" in the west, because she holds the Christ child with one hand, and points to Him with the other hand.


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