Publications and Research

Document Type

Book Chapter or Section

Publication Date



As the desire for affective experiences of the sacred increased in communities across Europe in the late Middle Ages, the Christian faithful crafted lifelike, mechanized figures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and saints for use in religious festivals. Although each devotional culture evidences unique body/object relationships and meanings, in general animated ritual objects encouraged lay participation in the celebration of saints and the Passion by engaging the senses, and, consequently, an emotional sense of God. In this essay I investigate the ritual alliances between moveable, prop-like saints and their Iberian devotees, in particular the performative meanings that arose from encounters with technologies of the sacred.


This is the submitted (pre-edited) version of a chapter later published in Performing Objects and Theatrical Things edited by Marlis Schweitzer and Joanne Zerdy.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.