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German or Flemish
3rd Quarter of the 14th Century
Size : 7.5 cm high, 4.5 cm wide – 3 ins high, 1¾ ins wide
During the 13th and 14th centuries, Royalty, courtiers and clerics became patrons of craft made objects of private devotion. Statuettes, diptychs and triptychs were created in Europe in ivory, silver, and gold as aids to private prayer. They were intended for use in chapels and oratories and may also have often been used for private meditation in the seclusion of the bedroom.
These devotional images were being produced at the height of the popularity of the cult of the Virgin and thus her image is frequently at the centre of these works. The idea of the Virgins humanity and accessibility is reflected in these images which took on a special importance during prayers on the day dedicated to the relevant religious festival.