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Object Narratives explicate religious images, objects, monuments, buildings, or spaces in 1500 words or less.

Conversations

MAVCOR began publishing Conversations: An Online Journal of the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion in 2014. In 2017 we selected a new name, MAVCOR Journal. Articles published prior to 2017 are considered part of Conversations and are listed as such under Volumes in the MAVCOR Journal menu.

  • Two enthroned figures are carved in high-relief on a light-colored slab of stone. Parts of their faces and bodies have fallen away. They wear long robes delineated by a incised lines of drapery. One figure's face has plump lips and a placid expression.
    Tamami Hamada
    This form is replicated in over 70 statues remaining at Longmen. The votive inscriptions of the statues inform us that they were given the specific title “King Udayana Image,” and not considered as a general Tathagata image, such as the Buddha Sakyamuni.
  • Half of a deeply pigmented painting depicts a dark night sky and flowering trees. A terrace scene fills the other half. A woman sits on the terrace and performs ritual devotion before a white shrine. Low yellow walls are on either side of the terrace.
    Holly Shaffer
    In this single folio, a woman is engaged in prayer. She sits on a pink cloth, her head in profile, with her body turned three-quarters to the viewer. Her right hand is covered by a golden textile, under which she counts beads on a rosary in meditation. She has garlanded the linga, or symbol of the Hindu god Shiva, and its three stripes of orange are mirrored on her forehead.
  • A small book lies open to expose a marbled interior cover which faces an illustrated page. This page depicts a muscular Christ in flowing drapery. He grasps a t-shaped cross in his left hand. Blood flows in long spurts from his hands, feet, and side.
    Jason David LaFountain
    This is the only known drawing by John Valentine Haidt, the most important Moravian artist of the eighteenth century. It appears at the opening of a small black-leather-bound hymnal that belonged to Haidt, upon a sheet of paper lightly stained and speckled with rusty spots.
  • A color-saturated painting depicts two figures aligned along a vertical axis of gold light. The lower register depicts an crystal lake, green trees, snowy mountains, and a purple sky. The upper register includes a large multi-color concentric circle.
    Erika Doss
    The Chart of the Magic Presence is the visual synopsis of the self-centered teleology of “I AM,” a new religious movement founded in 1932 by Guy and Edna Ballard.
  • A wooden object consists of three crucifixes stacked vertically. A cast metal, Christ figure is affixed to each crucifix. Their hands are outstretched, their waists covered with loin cloths, and their ribs visible.
    Cécile Fromont
    Elaborately crafted artworks, jealously kept insignia of power, and piously cherished devotional paraphernalia, central African crucifixes illustrate the Kongo people’s deep and enduring engagement with the visual forms and religious message of Christianity.
  • A leafy, carved pedestal on a stone pillar holds a pale stone sculpture of a horse with a regal rider. The rider wears a crown and draping robes and cloak. A sculpture of castle in miniature is affixed to the wall above the group.
    Shirin Fozi
    A young king sits tall in the saddle, gazing intently at something in the distance. There is apparently nowhere for the steed to go: horse and rider are perched on a leafy pedestal that is just large enough to bear their life-size forms, and they have stood frozen there since they were carved into the fabric of Bamberg Cathedral in the thirteenth century.

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