Thursday, February 2, 2023

Famous Attributed Arms in King's College Chapel, Cambridge

Not unexpectedly, it being a chapel after all, the chapel at King's College in Cambridge has at least one instance of some very well-known, but attributed, arms.

They are smack dab right in the middle of this window (which is clearly comprised of a number of old pieces of stained glass which have been saved from other windows now gone and reused here):

Yes, that coat of arms right there in the center, on a red shield:

This shield is one of several variants of a coat of arms attributed to Jesus Christ, containing representations of the instruments of the Passion: a cross (central charge), the crown of thorns, dice (for gambling for his clothing), in saltire the scourge/flagellum and reed scepter, a pincers (used to remove the nails), a hammer (to drive in the nails), the pillar where he was scourged, and in saltire overall, the staff for holding the sponge of vinegar he was offered and the spear which pierced his side.

As heraldry, it is far, far too complex for the ready identification that we have come to expect from coats of arms; as a representation of Christ, though, particularly in a religious setting like King's College Chapel, it serves more than adequately, calling immediately to mind as it does all of the events of that Passover Friday.

I mean, really, can you look at that shield not think immediately of the crucifixion of Jesus?

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