Friday, January 22, 2010

Emblems/Attributes


Some saint-based websites I visit give the stories, feast days, pictures of the saints, and attributes/emblems. I had never heard of this...what are their purpose?

For Saint Rose of Lima, her "emblems" are a crown of roses, an anchor, or a city. Are they for artistic purposes? For example, in my asian art class at uni, the lotus flower was a way in which the artist referred to amida & the afterlife.

food for thought~

2 comments:

deltaflute said...

I think that it is a representation of her.

"She is represented wearing a crown of roses." http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=446

And what she is the patron saint of.

But I'm not entirely sure. I'm not extremely knowledgable of saints. I view saints as role models so I don't really get into the whole saint or novena thing.

April said...

Well, partly it is representational. For instance, if you see a nun in a church stained glass window, it could be a billion saints, but if you see a nun holding flowers that narrows it down a bit. It's probably Saint Rita, but it could be St. Therese. Here's a better example, if you see a picture of a virgin martyr holding a plate of eyeballs, you know automatically it's Saint Lucy. Emblems started as a way to designate specific things to the audience (especially the illiterate audience). Martyrs hold palm branches. Virgins often have lilies, which represent purity. More specific symbols may represent the way someone died or refer to an event in their life.
So, they're artistic yes, but also reminders and identifiers. I love the emblems and symbols. It's like a language :)