3749 – Large Black Madonna Statue

Physical description:
Large resin reprocuction statue of woman with black skin, gold hat and robes.
Museum classification:
Christian Magic
14cm x 28cm x 3cm

Reproduction of the Black Madonna or Vierge Noire from the cathedral of Notre-Dame at Le Puy in France. In 1254 Louis IX of France gave the cathedral an ebony image of the Blessed Virgin clothed in gold brocade; this was destroyed during the Revolution, but replaced with a copy that continues to be venerated.  Stephen Benko in The Virgin Goddess (1993) has argued that Black Madonna is a pagan survival and evidence of an ancient earth goddess cult that was in part absorbed by Chrisitianity.  He notes that many goddesses were pictured as black, among them Artemis of Ephesus, Isis and Ceres. Ceres, the Roman goddess of agricultural fertility, is central to Benko’s argument, as Ceres’s Greek equivalent, Demeter, derives from Ge-meter or Earth Mother. The colour of the skin may relate to the fertility of black soil.

Levannah Morgan, at the Museum's workshop "Isis: Queen of Heaven" in December 2016 said that some of the Black Madonnas are actually statues of the Goddess Isis that were reconfigured for use by the early Church.  Several of the Churches/places associated with Black Madonna worship were previously centres of Isis worship (many were near the Sea and Isis was Goddess of the ships or Stellar Maris).

Resin or plastic