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Web of Art 13: Those Who Fight; Those Who Pray; Those Who Work

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Griffin-winged horse.
8th-10th c Iranian (Persian) Sassanian Textiles

SASSANIAN Anonymous (aka SASANIAN Anonymous) (224 - 651) Primary
8th-10th c
Paris. Musée de Cluny.
The cult of relics had long been an integral entity in the Christian belief system. The sojourn in the Holy Land offered the opportunity to acquire many relics of saints who had died there. Relics played an extremely important role in popular worship for they had the ability to heal and to work miracles. Members of the faithful made long journeys to visit the sites of famous relics and to ask for favors. Since they often left gifts, relics were an excellent capital investment. Some relics were given as diplomatic gifts, others were stolen, while others were purchased. There was a brisk trade in relics, many of them bogus. Whether bogus or not, their coverings had an important effect on Medieval art. Many relics were brought to Europe carefully wrapped in silk like the Sassanian winged griffin/horse that we see here. Such designs were to play an important part in the introduction of ancient Middle Eastern motifs into Europe, and we will find them painted and carved in the monumental art that developed during the Romanesque period.

Caption: SASSANIAN | Griffin-winged horse. | 700-1000 | Persian | Sassanian
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