Monday, April 11, 2011

Myths, Folklore & Symbolism: Mary Magdalene

The Magdalen's invariable attribute is her jar, or vase of ointment, held in her hand or standing near her feet, with which she anointed Christ's feet. Her hair is untied, long and flowing, sometimes covering her whole body…
The story of her pilgrimage to Provence, where she was said to have lived for many years as a hermit, originated in France in the 11th cent. and is told in the Golden Legend. It was based on legends about another female penitent, Mary of Egypt, which had been current in France from a much earlier date. The discovery of the Magdalen's supposed relics in the 13th cent. led to the rapid growth of her cult. " (Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art, James Hall)

"About 1050 the monks of Vézelay began to claim to hold the relics of Mary Magdalene, brought, they related, from the Holy Land either by their 9th-century founder-saint, Badilo, or by envoys despatched by him. A little later a monk of Vézelay declared that he had detected in a crypt at St-Maximin in Provence, carved on an empty sarcophagus, a representation of the Unction at Bethany, when Jesus' head was anointed by Mary of Bethany, assumed in the Middle Ages to be Mary Magdalene. The monks of Vézelay pronounced it to be Mary Magdalene's tomb, from which her relics had been translated to their abbey. Freed captives then brought their chains as votive objects to the abbey, and it was the newly-elected Abbot Geoffroy in 1037 who had the ironwork melted down and reforged as wrought iron railings surrounding the Magdelen's altar." (Wikipedia)

No comments:

Post a Comment