Mother Mary metal thing

SmumdaxNovember 5, 2012

Can someone help me finding more details about this object?

It's quite heavy, made in some metal that I can't identify.

It doesn't seem to be painted. Size is more or less 5"3/4 by 2"7/8

Figure (I suppose it's Mary) is screwed on the plate, with two flathead screws in the back.

Also the backside, the number 622 is embossed in the metal, along with the word "GERMANY". Both are centered, about 1/3 from the bottom.

This used to belong to my great-grand-mother, and I got it when she passed away many years ago.

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jemdandy

It is a male figure with a halo around the head signifying a saint or Christ.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:28AM
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lindac

Not sure why you think it's a male figure.
To me it looks like a wall hanging figure of The Blessed Virgin Mary, intended to be hung as a reminder during the saying of the Hail Mary.
I have no idea of the age nor provenance nor what it might be made of....but that's what it is.
Was your great grandmother Catholic?
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:23AM
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justlinda

Virgin Mary always has a headscarf/veil on her head. Does this figure have one? If not, then it's a male.

Also, the figure looks awkward as it's not centered on the backplate. It's toward the top with unused space at the bottom.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:49AM
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palimpsest

I believe it is Mary and that the orb she is standing on represents the world. On Catholic statues she is often depicted standing on the world, sometimes crushing a snake who represents the Devil or evil.

This looks like a deco-moderne style plaque that was often put above the light switch at the entry of a room in Catholic households, so that it would be near the entry and a reminder to the occupants of their faith. Sometimes they incorporated the lightswitch, sometimes they had a small font on the bottom for holy water so you could bless yourself upon leaving.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:02PM
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lindac

I'll bet the bottom is curved more than it appears and it's a holy water font!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 2:39PM
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duluthinbloomz4

I can't think it anything more than a metal religious wall plaque of the Virgin Mary - not mandatory she be depicted with a head scarf or veil. Artistic license and all.

I also doubt it's a holy water font; even with a slight bottom curvature, it's too shallow. And holy water fonts tend to have an obvious basin that would actually hold water.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:13PM
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sam_md

FWIW I have never seen a female saint depicted without a headcovering of some type, also the hair & feet are never exposed for females. Although males are usually bearded sometimes they lack a beard. My observation is limited to stained glass and statuary.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:54PM
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lindac

Sam.....check Statues of St Mary Magdalene....almost never shown with a head covering and usually barefooted.
And there are many depictions of the Blessed Mother without head covering as well as others...St Anne that I can think of.

I find that the head covering or not often depends on the era of the art work.... modern saints are often bare headed....Rennaissance less often...Bizantine never.

I really think it's a depiction of the Blessed Mother...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:25PM
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palimpsest

Statues of Mary depicting her foot crushing the serpent are usually barefoot.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:59PM
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justlinda

Does this help any? Tried to magnify the face. Kinda looks like a square jaw and beard imo.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:33PM
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calliope

I also believe it is a depiction of Jesus. The miraculous medal was inspired by a nun from a vision she saw of Mary, in which she ultimately stood on a globe, with hands outstretched downward, and sometimes crushing a snake with her foot. Standing on a globe does indeed reflect creation or domination over the world. You'll also find other figures standing on a globe, including Adam depiction creation. It is symbolic, but not necessarily of Mary. This little plaque, and btw that is not an unusual size for a Catholic plaque, as already stated by another poster, is a modern and stylistic interpretation, and even if you can or do find renditions of her sans headcovering, it is not traditional because of the practise of head covering for women of witness in Corinthians. It may or may not even be catholic inspired, but it probably is. Something is flowing from this figure's head and it's too short to be either a headcovering, or a woman's hair in biblical times. I can't tell by the picture and the OP can't even tell by looking at the figure itself. My guess, especially since it's standing on the orb, would also be Jesus. It is too shallow to be a holy water font.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:55PM
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jemdandy

Now that I have taken a second look, I can not tell if this stylized figure is male or female. My first impression was of The Christ because of the halo and rays behind the head.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 4:48AM
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lindac

It's most likely Mary, Christ was seldom depicted with hands together like that. Traditionally He had arms out spread or one arm raised.
Mary was often depicted with a halo....and I see what I thought was hair seems to be a head covering.
But unless the OP can post a better picture, we may never come to a consensus.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Smumdax

Thanks for the help. I'm pretty sure you can all stop arguing about Mary or not Mary, since it isn't the info I'm really looking for ;) To put this conversation to rest, here's a close-up of the head. Definitely Mary.

Found the object on eBay today, via another message board I posted it on: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-German-Wall-Plaque-Madonna-BJ-/370429293304

There isn't much info there either, but I'll try asking the seller some question to see if he can bring up some more info.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:06PM
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calliope

Linda........you are right, you seldom find Christ with hands folded in prayer. It niggled at me after I posted. What exactly type of information are you looking for, Smumdax? It's probably nickel, many of those small plaques are. It's marketed for Catholics almost certainly if it's Mary, and it is. It's modern (well when you're my age, vintage is modern). I doubt if it's really valuable, though it's pretty and has sentimental value.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:49PM
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cloudy_christine

I'd say you would never see Christ with hands together in prayer. It would make no sense.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 5:48PM
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