Essay by redspikedheelsCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 2004

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The term mandorla refers to the artistic interpretation of an almond shaped aura or halo

surrounding holy figures such as Christ, the Virgin Mary and a few select Saints (Blackford).

Literally, mandorla is the Italian word for almond (Moore); it is an ancient symbol offering hope

and healing (Jensen).

An example of a mandorla can be found in Ashampstead Berkshire in Ashampstead,

England. Here, beams in filled with plaster rather than arched provide the perfect surface

for painting. Stylistically, this work is deed a doom style work, reminiscent of the chancel

paintings at Kemphy. Christ is framed in a mandorla, robes open exposing his versification

wounds. He is seated on a bench like throne surrounded by angels holding the instruments of

passion (Marshall).

Traditionally, the mandorla is created by two intersecting circles forming and almond

shape in the middle (Moore). This is a symbol of Christ as a mediator, bringing the world

closer to healing, empowerment, and collaboration.

Two individuals form the circles of the

mandorla, the overlap creates a container strong enough to hold different perspectives,

binding the individuals into a healthy relationship pleasing to Christ (Jensen). This communion

emphasized power with instead of power over.

The almond symbolizes virginity because it is the first flower of the year, thus representing

the mother of Christ. Also because of its early appearance in the Spring it has been nicknamed

the Awakener, in reference to Christ himself awakening the dead, or thawing the earth. The

almond is also a Christian symbol of divine favor and approval. In Iran, the almond tree is

considered the tree of heaven, and to the Phygians, it is the symbol of spring, thought to be the

father of all things (Chou). When in prayer, people often press their hands together. However,

if when the hands are...