Mikro's Comparative Religions class went to MOBIA the Museum of the Bible in Art, to see a special exhibit called "Objects of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster from the Victoria and Albert Museum."
Our visit started with a discussion of what makes a work of art "religious" in nature, what numinous means, the concept of darshan, and also about the the paucity of imagery in every day life back in the middle ages. Paintings and sculpture were found only in large churches, and the homes of the very wealthy. The average person never saw imagery.
The alabaster exhibit featured pieces from about 1400 to 1500. Alabaster was mined in Northern England. Pieces were carved with scenes depicting biblical scenes and scenes from the lives of the saints. These images were supposed to be an aid to prayer and contemplation. The most popular subject matter was scenes from the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary, such as the annunciation, crucifixion, and lamentation. Later in the middle ages, alabasters were to be seen in parish churches and the homes of people of moderate means, as well as in great churches and the homes of the rich.
Because this was a special exhibit photography was not permitted, but I did make a few sketches...