Hannah Baader, “Vows on Water: Maritime Iconospheres and the Votive Offering of Ships”
11:30 pm | 2/25/2016 | 308A Doe Library
This talk will take a canvas that was presented at the Salon in Paris in 1881- showing a maritime votive scenario – as a starting point for a fragmentary history of Christian maritime ex-votos. Stretching back far before the nineteenth century, this history reflects the strong fears, anxieties and hopes that arise from seafaring, leading to specific religious practices, beliefs, and aesthetics. Although there is a wide range of local documentation, we are still missing any overall research on the topic or any attempt at a more systematic approach. Maritime ship ex-votos are indeed the fragile documents of a long Mediterranean and Atlantic history, a history of longue durée, but nevertheless with significant changes and breaks. This long history might be a tacit history of the worlds of fishermen and seafarers with their specific forms of religiosity and community, but at the same time of many other parts of society – as merchants, churchman, and slaves.
The talk focuses on the status of maritime ex-votos in the form of ships as objects or things, on the metaphoricity of ships as bodies and figures of transfer, on the seriality of votive vessels, and on their capacity for creating communality.