Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 42256
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Serrano , Pilar Gonzalez,
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Divinidades y vírgenes de cara negra
  • Source: Revista Digital de Iconografia Medieval 9, 17 ( 2017): Pages 45 - 60. Available open access on the Revista Digital de Iconografía Medieval site: https://www.ucm.es/data/cont/docs/621-2017-06-23-Divinidades%20y%20v%C3%ADrgenes%20de%20cara%20negra.pdf.
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  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Black Madonnas Mary, Virgin, Saint in Art
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  • Abstract: Since the most remote antiquity, meteors have been venerated, seen as hailstones fallen from the sky (diopetes), and, therefore, “cratophanies” (manifestations of power) of the Mother Goddess. They were also called “ray stones” and, as columns or betyles (beth-el), a Semitic term that means “abode of the god”, they received worship in numerous temples or sanctuaries. Among the best-known cases, we may highlight the “Pesinunte black stone”, adored as the Phrygian goddess Cybele, or the sacred betyl that, plated with gold, was the incarnation of the Ephesian Artemis. Nowadays, the cult of these meteors survives in the Kaaba in Mecca. This sacred character of the “divine black stones” led to the fact that the first effigies of the Christian virgins had their face and their hands black or dark as a sign of its sacred antiquity. The same skin colour was applied to the child on her knees. These features were maintained throughout the Middle Ages, during which the so-called “black faced virgins” flourished, both in Europe and in Spain. These Marian images were, and still are, object of intense worship in churches, monasteries and sanctuaries.
  • Author's Affiliation: Universidad Complutense de Madrid
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  • Year of Publication: 2017.
  • Language: Spanish
  • ISSN/ISBN: 2254853X
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