Votives

Votives (from Latin vote - promise, vow) are votive figurines, through which people ask for healing, for protection or offer them as a sign of gratitude. Votives are left in churches, chapels or other places of sacred significance - ayazmo, obrochiste, etc. They are tied with a red thread, sewn to a red cloth or attached with wax to the icons. The offering of a votive is a personal act, and it was rare for someone to go beyond the immediate circle and donate for strangers, sufferings and requests.

Votive figurines have different shapes and sizes, depending on their purpose. They can be for general health - shaped like whole human figures. Votives with a request to obtain a child have images of a pregnant woman, a baby, a cradle with a newborn. When praying for healing, figurines representing parts of the human body are offered. Depending on the disease, sore spot or infirmity, they can resemble an arm, a leg, an eye, an ear, a woman's breast, etc. The depiction of domestic animals is associated with a request for the health of the livestock, and the yoke (a wooden device to which cattle are harnessed) includes the wish for a bountiful harvest.

Votives during the Renaissance were made by master goldsmiths who used alloys of precious metals. Figurines with a silver content in the alloy are preferred, which is related to the belief in the healing and apotropaic (magical-protective) function of silver.

Scroll to Top