Abstract

This article will continue the line of inquiry suggested by the previous contribution, but focus on animated sculptures of Christ created on the former territory of the medieval Kingdom of Poland, as well as in Silesia and Pomerania, and in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Articulated sculptures were a common sight in east-central Europe during the Middle Ages: they held an important place in liturgical and paraliturgical ceremonies, and were used during various theatrical religious activities connected to the main feasts of the liturgical year. Their elaborate construction enabled movements of specific body parts of the depicted person, and they had a powerful impact on the participants of these events. The tradition of using such sculptures in Poland is not commonly known, yet evidence for their use is vast. This article discusses a broad spectrum of recently discovered animated sculptures of Christ within the context of various texts and archival references concerning liturgical ceremonies that featured such articulated objects. I will finally argue that the tradition of engaging with medieval animated sculptures in Poland lasted long after the decrees of the Council of Trent were passed, and I will trace their survival and use well into the nineteenth century.

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