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This medieval sculpture features the Christ Child, who resembles a miniature adult, seated in Mary’s lap. Both of the figures wear a crown. Visually, Mary is positioned as a throne for the Child, while her hands present her Son to the world. In medieval Christian belief, Mary is here serving as a throne for the incarnation of Divine Wisdom. Christ’s humanity and divinity are both expressed in this single image, which is intended to express the miracle of the Incarnation.

The Christ Child holds a book in His left hand, while raising His right hand in blessing. A fantastic beast serves as Mary’s footrest. Statues such as this one sometimes left the church and were carried in processions, which encouraged public devotion.

Sources:
- Michele McElderry, notes in curatorial file for 12.SP.07.

Details

  • Title: Throne of Wisdom statue
  • Location Created: France
  • Physical Dimensions: 11 1/2 x 37 x 11 1/2 in. (29.2 x 94 x 29.2 cm)
  • Medium: Polychromed wood
  • Date: 12th century
  • Collection: Medieval
  • Accession Number: 12.SP.07

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