Ex Voto Figure from Naples, circa 1970
silver plated brass
8.5" x 3"
The term ex-voto comes from Latin “ex voto suscepto” translating to "from the vow made." Ex-votos are devotional objects most commonly associated under this name with the Christian faith, though objects of the same nature and function exist within many types of belief systems.
Ex-voto objects in some way depict a subject with which the devotee is asking for help. For example, Ex-votos in the form of parts of the body are used to request aid with health problems, while those in the form of full adult male and female figures may be used to request help finding a significant other. Houses and animals are also common. In Brazil, Ex-votos are most commonly made of carved wood or cast wax, in Mexico they take the form of “retablo” paintings on tin and “Milagros” cast in silver, in Peru they are often made of various forms silver sheet that is cut and etched by hand, and in Greece they are called a “tama” or “tamata” and stamped in a wide variety of square and rectangular metal sheet.
These silver-plated brass Ex-votos are from southern Italy, where the same molds have been used since the early 20th century with little to no variation.