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made in Italy

Postcard of Bowl.
© National Museums Scotland


This maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware) bowl was made as a souvenir for pilgrims visiting the shrine of Loreto, near Ancona in Italy. It dates from the 18th century.

The polychrome painted scene depicts the Virgin Mary and Child. The abbreviated inscription inside the bowl translates as, 'with dust and water from the Holy House'. This implies the ceramic body includes some dust and possibly some water from the Holy House (Mary's house at Nazareth).

The Holy House at Nazareth was allegedly transported to Loreto by angels after 1295. Other relics at the Loreto shrine included a venerated statue of the Virgin and a bowl said to have been used by Mary.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-938-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1897.325
Date: 18th century
Material: Earthenware. Inscription: CON.POL.DI.S.CASA
Dimensions: 38 mm H x 116 mm D
Subject: Ceramics : earthenware : Italy : Castel Durante
Who: Jesus Christ
Virgin Mary
Where: Italy, Pesaro / Loreto
Description: Maiolica bowl painted in polychrome with the Virgin and Child with a church behind: Italian, Perhaps Pesaro or Loreto, 18th century
  • Evans, G. Souvenirs From Roman Times to the Present Day. Edinburgh: NMS Publishing Ltd, 1999, p 5. 
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