I'm quite certain that many posts have been circulating the web about ex votos for the last few years.
I was vaguely aware of them and what they were, but never really became interested in them until this fall during my trip to Italy. At the giant outdoor antique market in Arezzo it was one of the first things that caught my eye shortly after entering the grounds, actually the first stall of interest for me.
Ex votos originated in Italy during the 15th century and are devotional objects offered as a symbol of thanks for prayers that have been answered. Grazie Ricevuti, or thanks for grace received.
It is a custom in France, Spain and Mexico as well.
The one above, that I purchased, caught my attention because of the lovely M in the center of the heart.
Obviously, it stood for the name of the donor, Maria, which was written on the back in a hand written script, with the date and year of the graces received.
...beautifully tarnished with a lovely, vintage patina....
...with the face of a beautiful putti at its base....
This lovely one with my initials, given to me as a gift, makes me feel protected, and filled with the energy of friendship....
You may remember, I decided to display it on my tree this Christmas...it was perfect.
Religious symbols are emerging more and more in our lives, both as collectibles and affirmation of beliefs
and sacred traditions which are very personal and unique to the individual. I see them as symbols of gratitude and beauty.