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Madonna Enthroned

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unknown1220/30Saxony or Rhine-Meuse-RegionivoryH 11,6 cm

This early Gothic ivory statuette was intended for personal prayer in Medieval veneration of the Virgin Mary. The heavily abraded faces and knees of the figures suggest that the faithful would often caress the Madonna and the future Messiah. Lion and basilisk under the Virgin’s feet symbolize the Biblical prophecy from Psalm 91:13: "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet". This is the reference to the evil, which shall be overcome with the Messiah’s help. The pictorial rendering is unusual. It can be assumed that this Madonna was the main figure of a small ivory altar. Her hollowed seat served as a container of relics.