Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mater Theos

click to embiggen

You've probably been wondering about my latest huntings and gatherings. As you know, G-Dub, my local Goodwill store, is my favorite weekly foraging spot. The rarity or value of a certain piece is not the objective for me; the mellow, the little bit worn, the unwanted, are usually what strike my fancy.

Last week, I found this lovely vintage icon to add to my collection. I'm not personally of the Catholic or Orthodox faith, but I love them for their beauty, history, symbolism, and suggestion of the Divine Feminine. I'm guessing this one is Ukrainian, circa 1920s.  The sticker, still on the back, says, "Zawada Book Store, The Store of Gifts, 80 So. 15th St., Pittsburgh, PA".   The print is 12" x 16", and the colors amazingly still vibrant. I paid $7.99 for it, which is more than reasonable.

The Greek MP and OV are an abbreviation for "Mater Theos", the Mother of God. By the way, it's OV, not "oy", in the bubble cloud above Mary's head.


  1. This is beautiful. I believe this is "Our Lady of Perpetual Help"
    In Toronto, each Wednesday at St. Patrick's Parish at 12.00 noon a mass and prayers to our Lady of Perpetual Help is held. Between 200-300 attend from areas across the city. It is a beautiful service.
    Incidentally each image around the Mother and Child has meaning.

    Helen xx

    1. Helen, you are correct. It is a beautiful icon. The angels around the image depict the future sufferings of Christ -- the cross representing the crucifixion and the lance represents the tool the soliders used to pierce the side of Christ.

  2. Nice! there is some good stuff out there, but you gotta go and find it. I love rummaging around thrift stores, I'm mostly looking for vintage shirts, but I see a lot of other nice things also.

  3. As a non-believer, I still find the imagery of old icons appealing. Your G-Dub certainly turns-up some goodies!

  4. Not quite sure what the British equivalent of a Goodwill Store is, but I think I was in it last Sunday. As with you, it is one of my favourite places, but you would ...... (you know the end of the sentence)

  5. Love! Our G-dub closed down, so I'm left to wander the aisles of the Army of S. 8-)

  6. Neat! I have a 19th century Russian icon that has a story behind it.....maybe I should write about it too. Tess, your G-dub sounds like it's much more interesting than the ones around here!

  7. Gday Tess, just dropped in to say hello , i too am a lover of the Christian version of the ancient Isis, high priestess of the tarot ! , cheerio , mate

  8. Tess this is absolutely beautiful - we never find things like this in our shops.

  9. Beautiful!
    The info is here.
    From Summer.

  10. What on earth do you do with all this stuff when your manor gets full? Classic yard sale?

  11. Chuck full of symbolism. Colors mean something, even the size of her eyes and mouth. The sandals Jesus has on, well one hanging off represent his human and divine natures. See, I paid a bit of attention during Carholic schooling. :). This is a pretty version...there are many, as you know. Nice frame, too!

  12. Unlike Cro Magnon, whose comments I understand and his views on religion I probably share, I still find pleasure in the art, music and architecture. Such art also establishes points along the road of human history that cannot be written without references to our thousands of gods, created, worshipped, used and abandoned over the millennia.

  13. Beautiful find, Tess. And that is more than a reasonable price. Icons run for hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

  14. I'm amazed at how ahead of their time the artist must have been - clearly suggesting that viewers go online for further information. That little computer mouse symbol next to the Y is a dead giveaway!

    I miss the opportunity to rummage amongst things that are actually old. Living in Dubai everything is new, and even the stuff people throw away isn't more than a few years out of the factory.
    Generally speaking if you find something that looks old in a store here it was probably made three weeks ago in a sweat shop somewhere in India...


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)