This wooden statuette represents a statue of the Virgin Mary at Scherpenheuvel (which means "Sharp Hill"), one of the most frequented pilgrimage sites in Belgium. There, in the Dark Ages, a great oak tree was a "center of superstitious practices" (according to a church brochure). In the fourteenth century a wooden figure of the Virgin was attached to the tree as sort of a makeshift shrine, which later became the site of a chapel and (in the 17th century) a bascilica. The statue is venerated as "The Miraculous Virgin," and healings and other reputed miracles are attributed to it.
Digital image copyright 2014 Images in this collection are not to be used for any commercial purposes without the expressed written permission of the Center for Inquiry and Dr. Joe Nickell. Patrons of this digital museum are free to utilize materials from the museum for non-commercial and educational purposes.