Antique Lesson - Heart Ex-Votos

Years ago, I saw an image that stopped me in my tracks.  Although I can't remember the specific shelter magazine,  it was an image of a stunning home and on a table was a very large collection of these.
I remember thinking, what in the world are those gorgeous things?  Why can't I collect something unique and cool?

I've since learned these beautiful objects are called Heart Ex-Votos and they actually have a religious purpose.  They are a form of votive offering to a saint or divinity.   These offerings are given in the fulfillment of a vow or in gratitude or devotion.   They are generally placed in a church or chapel where the worshiper seeks grace or wishes to give thanks. 

For the heart shaped ex-voto, many open like a locket and includes a prayer, note or thank you for the completion of a miracle.  So, the ex-voto is both public (since you leave it at the church for others to read for encouragement) and personal (since they usually include a very personal story about the giver). 

Although some are made of silver, the large majority were created out of tin and may include a picture of the bearer or of the person the prayer is in honor of when presented.  

Many shrines at the end of long pilgrimages, include large areas decorated with ex-votos.  These can take many forms of which the heart is one.  These have a Italian origin, but quickly spread to the New World by Spanish settlers. 

If you are considering a unique collection, I think these are amazingly beautiful and interesting.  Have a wonderful day! M.

PS: for additional information on these lovely objects go here and here


  1. Holy moly..those are GORGOUES!!!!!! Seriously so beautiful.

  2. I want some!! What an incredible collection they would make!

  3. So interesting and lovely. Thanks for the education.


Thank you for thoughts on my post! M.