You are here

MAVCOR Journal is an open access born-digital, double blind peer-reviewed journal dedicated to promoting conversation about material and visual cultures of religion. Published by the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion at Yale University and reviewed by members of our distinguished Editorial Board and other experts, MAVCOR Journal encourages contributors to think deeply about the objects, performances, sounds, and digital experiences that have framed and continue to frame human engagement with religion broadly understood across diverse cultures, regions, traditions, and historical periods.

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.

  • A large, shiny jade figure sits cross-legged on a carved platform. The head is gold with large eyes, long earlobes, a black topknot, and serene expression. It holds a small black object. The figure sits against a red background and among yellow flowers.
    David L. McMahan
    Numerous photographs appear to reveal what adherents are calling “mandala lights” around the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace as it makes its way around the world on a tour of Buddhist temples, monasteries, town squares, and museums.
  • Gray, jagged stones stand in the foreground of a photo that captures a stone architectural ruins and green mountains in the background.
    Claudia Brittenham
    For the Inca, the landscape was both sacred and animate, full of forces that demanded respect and offerings. Distant mountain peaks, called apu—a term of respect meaning “lord”—were among the most powerful of these forces.
  • A woman sculpted of gray stone emerges from a rocky outcropping. She reaches her arms out over a sculpted basket with two thin birds in front of it and small chicks underneath it.
    Karil J. Kucera
    To most modern visitors, the Chicken-Feeding Girl displays the stereotypical concern of a doting mother, and a number of scholars have described this image as representative of the pastoral life of the region during the Song Dynasty (960—1279 CE). While this is in fact one way to interpret the work, the Song dynasty audience for Chicken-Feeding Girl read her presence at the site in an entirely different manner.
  • Stained glass windows with red, yellow, and blue panels let colorful light in on a cozy and cluttered room. It is filled with couches, chairs, tables, and rugs,
    Gretchen Buggeln
    Lake View Lutheran Church on Chicago’s north side is the fourth building of a congregation founded by Scandinavian immigrants in 1848. About 1960, demographic changes pushed the congregation to relocate and rebuild.
  • A wooden sculpture depicts a skeletal figure pulling a bow and arrow taunt. He has a flat chest imprinted with ribs, a head of wispy gray hair and large teeth, and oversized hands.
    Miguel de Baca
    This dramatic death cart is an object that was used in acts of corporal penance performed by the Hermanos de la Fraternidad Piadosa de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno (Brothers of the Pious Fraternity of Our Father Jesus of Nazareth).
  • 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.
  • Mary D. Garrard
    My favorite underrated work of art is the Lamentation by Suor Plautilla Nelli (1523-1588), the first woman artist in Renaissance Florence with an oeuvre to go with her name. This large altar painting was created for the Dominican convent of Saint Catherine of Siena, where it stood, nearly ten feet high, on a prominent altar in the convent’s public church.
  • 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.

Pages