Wool, silk, silver thread; tapestry weave
Overall: 79 x 75.9 cm (31 1/8 x 29 7/8 in.); Framed: 102.2 x 99.7 cm (40 1/4 x 39 1/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1973.77
Henry VIII owned many little tapestries, even commissioning London-made copies after European originals owned by Katherine of Aragon. With its small scale and extraordinary details, this piece was intended to be appreciated as an aid to private devotions. Locking eyes with the infant Christ, the fruit of the Virgin’s womb (represented by the pomegranate in the glass), the user contemplated Christ’s fate to die as savior of the world. The Christ child is flanked by the Virgin Mary and Joseph, and behind them three angels read from an open book. He squeezes grapes into a chalice, symbolizing the gift of his own blood for the redemption of humankind.
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