Gilded Ivory Madonna with Gold Earrings

The Portuguese conquest of territories in the east and west coasts of Africa, Sri Lanka, Goa, Macao, Japan and the east coast of Brazil, saw the advent of Christian art in these regions. Foremost among these were intricate ivory images of Christian deities which were popular in Portugal and Spain as well as in their Asian controlled territories. Ivory images produced in Goawere typically Christian figures of the divine, with Jesus and Virgin Mary being most common. Saints were often portrayed too. In fact, from the 16th century onwards, such images were produced in Asia for export to Europe. This is an immaculate example of an Indo-Portuguese ivory image of Madonna or Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. The gilded decoration on her hair and borders of the dress are grandiose; she stands with her right knee bent on a cloud of cherubs and her palms together in a gesture of prayer. She appears European with her serene light eyes, aquiline nose and broad face framed by the long blonde tresses. However the adornment of the figure with gold earrings reflects the practice in the Subcontinent of adorning the deity.