Between the 17th and 19th century, the sick, particularly in rural regions, turned not to a doctor but to a saint, soliciting their protection and help. Elaborate votive images and offerings were used to communicate with the called-upon saint. By depicting the affected body part, these images took on a distinctly emblematic character, as can be seen on this breast votive from 1830. The inscription “Ex voto” refers to the believer’s obligation to make public the received help.


  • Title: Silver votive
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: around 1830
  • Location: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, pemanent exhibition "Folklore"
  • Location Created: Lower Bavaria, Germany
  • Physical Dimensions: H 15,5 cm x B 18,2 cm
  • Provenance: Acquired by Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
  • Rights: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg (Foto: GNM / Monika Runge)
  • Medium: silver; cherry wood; velvet
  • Art Movement: 19th century

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