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Three photos of an ex voto-image, a ceramic amulet and a religious print
Image credits, read below.

Thomas Kühtreiber: “Medieval and Early Modern Amulets in Catholic Europe”

Culture and languages

During this third lecture in the ZADAN lecture series "Hopes and Protections on the Body" Mag. Dr. Thomas Kühtreiber, Austrian archaeologist and cultural historian, will give a lecture about amulets – the production, distribution and ritual uses of the Christian pilgrimage.

23 Nov 2021
16:00 - 17:15

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After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

In the context of the Christian Pilgrimage, amulets have played an important role since the Late Antiquity. Things (objects) were touched with the relics of saints or with images of grace and then taken home. Likewise, votive offerings were deposited at these places. Besides specific materials and text formulas, the closed chains of contact were the main factors that guaranteed the amulets' potency. The lecture will present and discuss specific strategies in dealing with these amulets, from production to distribution to the wide range of ritual uses.

Mag. Dr. Thomas Kühtreiber is an Austrian archaeologist and cultural historian with a chronological focus in the Middle Ages and Modern Times. He studied Archaeology, European Ethnology, History and Earth Sciences at the University of Vienna from 1993–1996 and he was affiliated to the Institute for Prehistory and Early History at the University of Vienna as assistant for Medieval Archaeology. Since 1997, he has been a senior researcher at the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture, Salzburg University (until 2012 Austrian Academy of Sciences). His research interests are studies on historical landscapes and built environments, but also on religious object links between humans, institutions, places and numinous entities, based on pilgrimage objects and amulets.

Images above

  • Fig. 1: Ex voto-image with a woman, who was cured by using an amulet („Fraisenstein“), Unknown artist, panel painting (1745). Sonntagberg, Austria, Treasure Chamber. Foto: Karin Kühtreiber
  • Fig. 2: Ceramic Amulets from Sonntagberg, Austria, Sonntagberg, Treasure Chamber. Foto: Karin Kühtreiber
  • Fig. 3: Serial religious print with the miraculous image of the Godmother of Mariazell, Austria (18th century). © Image: Christian Schneegass, WikiCommons.

External project partner

Four Gallery, Gothenburg

Funding institution

  • IASPIS / The Swedish Arts Grants Committee

ZADAN lecture series "Hopes and Protections on the Body"

ZADAN series will explore if new talismanic immaterial protections have emerged replacing these magical objects or if the digital space is unable to translate the talismanic of the material object. The series will investigate the hopes, desires, and fears that prompt jewellery makers in the creation of amulets/talismans/charms adornments and objects today.

The aim of ZADAN is to create a common platform, to broaden an understanding of jewellery art based on an exploration of a specific topic. The title ‘ZADAN’(座談) references the Japanese concept of a conversation among peers. With this in mind we welcome students and publics to participate as peers in the consideration of Jewellery Art as a ‘magical’ everyday practice and adornment.

For Hopes and Protections on the Body there will be six online lectures (October 2021 – March 2022) that include presentations in response to the topic from an artist, curator, sociologist, archeologist, and anthropologist. Find out more about ZADAN visit here: