Very large wood carving altarpiece IHS monogram - Wood - Early 19th century

Very large wood carving altarpiece IHS monogram - Wood - Early 19th century

Beautiful large altar piece of a completely wood-carved monogram IHS on stand. Painted with gold leaf, it has become a bit duller over the years though.

This monogram is double-sided so both sides are the same. Beautiful piece of handicraft, which dates back from the period 18000-1850.

The size:
Height 61.3cm
Diameter 53.2cm

This beautiful item is worn and has a wonderful patina, but otherwise is in complete and good condition.

IHS is a monogram regularly used on catholic objects. This monogram emerged in High Medieval times. IHS can be found on, for example, church facades, confessionals, prayer cards, chasubles and altar cloths etc.

The monogram IHS consists of the first three letters of Jesus in Greek capitals (ΙΗΣΟΣ). Iota, Eta and Sigma. Also spelled as IHS. The capital letter S is originally written in Greek as Σ. In Late Antiquity and during the early Middle Ages, this was written as a C. Since the later Middle Ages (circa 14th century) the S was used, always depicting the sigma (Σ). The H remained an H, although it is actually an E.

As not everyone realised that these are originally Greek letters and the H is an E in Greek, the monogram became enigmatic. This is likely the reason why other explanations for the monogram came up and why it became an abbreviation for a Latin phrase. The most used varieties are:

Iesus hominum salvator (Jezus the saviour of mankind). In hoc signo vinces (In this sign thou shalt conquer), as a reference to a dream of Roman emperor Constantine the Great had.[1]

The monogram is widely used as a logo by the Roman Catholic order of Jesuits ever since its founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola, chose it as his seal. They also gave it some new meanings:

Iesum habemus socium (We have Jesus as companion); Iesu humilitas societas (The modest society of Jesus).

On the other hand, there are also some mocking interpretations:

Iesuitae habent satis (The Jesuits have enough); Iesuitae hominum seductores (The Jesuits are seducers of humans).

Lot details
Very large wood carving altarpiece IHS monogram
Estimated Period
Early 19th century
Country of Origin
Good condition - used with small signs of aging & blemishes
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