Thursday, December 10, 2015


Well, technically this is a ram, not a lamb.  It is a Renaissance jewel, part of The Waddesdon Bequest to the British Museum.  And it was the inspiration for our own version of the Agnus Dei.

Well, there was also this llama with white balloons - as conceptualized & photographed by Gray Malin... but let's not steer too off topic.

Our Lamb-of-God was made for a dear friend, an Episcopal Deaconess, with whom the design holds special meaning.  As you may notice, it has an Episcopal flag in tow - which technically is a version of the familiar white flag with a red cross often depicted - yet with particular significance to the person who is meant to wear it in the good service of proclaiming the Gospel - Mother Liza.

The Lamb stands atop a heavenly-blue book, from which hang gold braids with seven red seals.  (There will be another post about this matter soon which will surely be of interest,)

But speaking of Rams and Lambs... it may do us good to point out another depiction - where both elements collide: the emblem of the city of Visby in Gotaland:

Over 800 years ago this was chosen as the symbol of the city.  But why a ram instead of a lamb? This is best explained by the fact that the capital of Gotaland was best known for its wool trade - and wool is sheared from the ram, not the short haired baby lambs.  Also, in Gutnish and Gothic (their original language) the same word is used for both a lamb and a ram.  Nonetheless, for the people of Visby, it is an everlasting symbol of their own Christianity, and it reminds them of the roots of their capital.

Such customization of a "generic" emblem - "agnus dei" used as a noun or heraldic composite - serves to distinguish a particular entity or person's shield or achievement from that of others.  Indeed many have an "agnus dei" in or for their signet - yet if it has the horns of a ram, we know it must be be about Visby!  Equally, if it carries the cross of Toulouse (the one with twelve balls, 3 on each arm) it must be the ancient capital of the Gothic Kingdom that is referenced:

Every bit has meaning.  So does, for example, the red background of the dalmatic we've made.  This vestment is meant to be worn on the Memories, Feasts and Solemnities of Martyrs.  The red symbolizes the blood they may have shed in sacrifice for their faith.  The first Christian Martyr, of course, being Christ himself.  Here's to a world where no new martyrs are created then -   of ANY faith.

And that's a post with quadrupeds for you! As promised.

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