The Image and the Figure. Our Lady of Częstochowa in Polish Culture and Popular Religion

The Image and the Figure. Our Lady of Częstochowa in Polish Culture and Popular Religion

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The image of Our Lady of Częstochowa is the most famous and the most venerated holy image in Poland. In contemporary Poland the image is a kind of a cultural icon, instantly recognizable and connected with popular symbolic and mythological meanings. Presented in this book is an analysis of beliefs, narratives (great and small stories), myths and rituals. This analysis reveals that for its devotees the image is not merely a material object and a picture – it is perceived, lived and experienced as a real person – figure of Mary – Queen and Mother.


Polish Catholicism in its contemporary form is strongly related to the notion of national identity. This strong interconnection was caused by variety of historical reasons. Throughout the entire nineteenth century it was the Catholic religion that unified the Polish society, which was at that time deprived of its own state. Those and similar processes were not unique to Poland, it was a time whe n new nationalisms were being born throughout Europe. Without an actual state, Polish history became the basis of preserving the national identity. In those circumstances the cult of Our Lady of Częstochowa was flourishing and her image became a national symbol. In her book, The Image and the Figure, Anna Niedźwiedź is describing and interpreting various forms and expressions of that cult.


Professor Czesław Robotycki, Jagiellonian University


Liczba stron196
WydawcaWydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
ISBN-13978-83-233-2900-8
Numer wydania1
Język publikacjipolski
Informacja o sprzedawcyePWN sp. z o.o.

Ciekawe propozycje

Spis treści

  List of illustrations IX
  List of tables and appendices, Abbreviations XI
  Acknowledgements XIII
  Introduction    1
  Chapter I. STORIES OF ORIGIN    5
    1. What is acheiropoietos?    5
    2. The image of Our Lady of Częstochowa as acheiropoietos    9
    3. The oldest legends about the image and how it came to Jasna Góra    22
    4. Translations of the image – variations of texts    26
    5. The contemporary legends of origin    30
    6. The great story as a contemporary etiological legend    43
  Chapter II. THE WOUNDED IMAGE    49
    1. The image of Our Lady of Częstochowa as a wounded picture    49
    2. Changes within the oldest legends concerning the wounding of the image    51
    3. The meanings attributed to the attack of 1430    54
    4. The contemporary tale of the wounding of the image    60
    5. The bleeding and weeping of images    63
    6. “The wounds are elongating”    66
    7. The symbolism of the wounds in the underground art of the 1980s    71
    8. The wounds in the transitory poetry of the 1980s    76
    9. “Wounded and Black    83
  Chapter III. QUEEN OF THE NATION    89
    1. The myth of the miraculous defense in European culture    89
    2. The miraculous defense of the Jasna Góra Monastery    94
    3. Contemporary memory of the defense    96
    4. The miraculous defense and the story of the wounding    101
    5. The coronation of 1717 and the title of Queen    104
    6. The Miracle on the Vistula    112
    7. Miraculous defense in stories about World War II    116
    8. The great story as a national myth    119
    9. Jasna Góra – the spiritual capital of Poland    126
    10. Queen and Mother – a documentation of one exhibition    132
  Chapter IV. THE IMAGE-FIGURE IN LIVED RELIGION    139
    1. Sensual non-differentiation    139
    2. “Countenance”    144
    3. “Mother”    150
    4. Mater Dolorosa    154
    5. Miraculous consciousness    156
    6. Peregrination of the image-figure    162
    7. “A Guest in the home”    170
    8. The fi gure without the image – the peregrination of an empty frame    174
  Epilogue story    179
  Appendix    180
  Selected bibliography    183
  Index    193
RozwińZwiń
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