[Sca-cooks] Ex-votos and food-related accidents OOP (Re: was Child-safing, Falling into fires, etc.)

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 19 13:52:16 PDT 2008

All this talk about falling into fires, child-safing, etc. tickles a memory. While in Sicily, I persuaded my husband that we should poke around in the folk museum in the Palazzo Corvaja in Taormina. We found one wall completely taken up by a series of ex-votos, folk paintings commissioned by people who survived serious accidents and injuries and wanted to thank the Madonna or various saints for their intervention in saving them. These all dated from the late 18th to late 19th centuries (although some of them gave thanks for intercession in much earlier events, like the eruption of Mount Etna in 1669), and there were about 50 of them on the wall.

And they were fascinating. In one, a nun is shown plunging head first down off some sort of balcony or upper story in a monastery, speedily heading toward a cooking fire that is heating a huge cauldron below. The monks are shown running around in terror. 

In another, somewhat food-related one, a dockworker is shown dodging a crate of lemons that's slipping off a crane.

But my favorite is the lady with the cats. She's in the foreground running around in terror with five or more "rabid" cats hanging off of her, she's bleeding in several places; behind her you see what attracted the cats: a plate of fish on a table. Some more cats are seen slipping through the open window or squeezing through the ajar shutters of another window.

The museum is missing a sure bet by not making reproductions of these ex-votos available, because I would have loved some postcards!


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