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Faith and Transformation: Votive Offerings and Amulets from the Alexander Girard Collection [Paperback]

Doris Francis

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Book Description

Nov. 15 2007
Amulets are objects of supranormal potency that safeguard the wearer during critical periods of life passage and transformation. Ex-votos, small metal objects often in the shapes of human figures or specific parts of the body, are presented as gifts to supernatural beings in thankful reciprocation for favours received. Drawing on examples from the Alexander Girard Collection at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, this book describes the actual uses and ritual of the objects by people around the world who embrace different systems of faith and follow distinct cultural and ritual practices. The contributors, comprising an international group of historians, curators, folklorists, and anthropologists, focus on select pieces collected from Mexico, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia; Spain and Italy; Byzantium, Greece, and Poland; Morocco, Senegal, Ghana, Ethiopia; Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, Turkey, Iran; Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Japan.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press (Nov. 15 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890135045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890135044
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 20.6 x 1.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 721 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,250,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Faith and Transformation Dec 21 2008
By T. ONEILL - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Interesting book covering a wide range of cultures, but articles in the book tend to be brief. I was hoping for more depth.
5.0 out of 5 stars Semiotic talismans good luck charms lower anxiety July 25 2011
By Sakuteiki - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
To create presupposes love for that which one creates. Erich Fromm

This book is a powerful collection of haptic art which I visit again and again.

Global anthology of talismans arranged by visual relationship, not geography nor chronology, Faith and Transformation reveals universal human anxiety control via objects. Alexander Girard's collection is displayed according to his unique choices. Detailed background information is rarely available. Instead the assemblage is a private tour of the visual aesthetic of an intuitive collector, joining similar items from around the world into unspoken dialogue. The space between vibrates with inquiry and inspiration both artistic and emotional.

Human fears of death, gratitude for good fortune, healing from illness, requesting deliverance from pain or loss are encapsulated in folk art expressions of belief which are fresh, not overworked overanalyzed overthought but represent raw emotion in trinket form. Anonymous craftsmen stimulate a conversation between man and the unknowable with protective charms.

After buying or carving or painting a votive, ritual practices bless the request (incense prayer food flowers) sometimes in a sacred space (tree cave spirit house church) under the auspices of a special person (healer priest) and then allowed to marinate nailed to a door, resting in a chapel, buried. The intention (request for healing, deliverence from evil, gratitude for rescue) resides outside the person in a semiotic votive.

The raw images created by artisans worldwide bear striking resemblances highlighted in this unorthodox format. The collection of amulets and talismans speak for themselves of mystery, fear, hope.

Other museum presentations are over-intellectual with extensive footnotes distracting from the visual power of objects themselves. This volume is an unexpected emotional experience of the collector as visual display artist.

Recommended 5 star visuals of portable religious art, experiential rather than research or reference oriented.

Other resources Milagros: Votive Offerings from the Americas,
Amulets and Superstitions: The Original Texts With Translations and Descriptions of a Long Series of Egyptian, Sumerian, Assyrian, Hebrew, Christian,
Amulets: Sacred Charms of Power and Protection,
Spirit of Chiapas: The Expressive Art of the Roof Cross Tradition Featuring the Frans Blom Collection at Na Bolom,
Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey,
Ethnic Jewellery: From Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands,
Splendor of Ethnic Jewelry : From the Colette and Jean Pierre Ghysels Collection, Art of the Cross.
Watch The Warrior's Way talismans for reminiscence,
Departures stone letters.

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