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The Stuff of Miracles: Religious Objects and Emotions in Medieval Chartres

Sarah Randles 70x70

Medieval Round Table at University of Melbourne: 2012 Seminar Series

Seminar Title:
The Stuff of Miracles: Religious Objects and Emotions in Medieval Chartres

Guest presenter:
Dr Sarah Randles  (CHE Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Melbourne)

Time and Date:
6pm on Monday 6th August

Venue:
Graduate Seminar Room 2 (room 209), which is in the east corridor, first floor, Old Arts

Abstract:
The cathedral of Notre Dame at Chartres holds as its most significant relic a textile believed to have been worn by the Virgin Mary.  While the precise nature of this garment was fluid, described variously as a 'veil', 'tunic' or 'chemise', as a result of its concealment in a reliquary since the tenth century, in the Middle Ages it was venerated principally as the sainte chemise and understood as an undergarment, worn by the Virgin at the birth and possibly also the conception of Christ.
The relic at Chartres prompted a number of material responses, some of them as a direct result of its inaccessibility. As well as the usual pilgrimage tokens, ex votos and other donations, copies of the chemise were made and consecrated as contact relics, designed to be worn by the faithful seeking the Virgin's protection or assistance in childbirth or conception. This paper examines the nature of these objects together with the original relic and the behaviours around them, in the context of the wider medieval cult of relics, as evidence for emotional states, exchanges and communities.

For further information, contact:
Andrew Stephenson, andrewws@ unimelb.edu.au or
Ann Sadedin, annsad@unimelb.edu.au.

The Medieval Round Table Seminar Series