Culture & Art from Central Africa

Thomas Mpira – Paschal Candle (Celestial Village)

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Malawi - Dedza District - Mua Parish

 

The Paschal candlestick has at its centre a depiction of the risen Christ, with stigmata. Through Christ's suffering he incorporates the people gathered around him into the celestial village.

At the foot of the candlestick parents are passing a new-born child over fire: this is the Chewa ceremony of 'kutenga mwana', which serves to socialize the child and to make it fully human. Claude Boucher used to have parents pass a child over a lighted candle at baptism in remembrance of this.

The structure of the candlestick is the rainbow, which combines traditional symbolism (whereby the rainbow is God) and Christianity (we might think, for example, of the rainbow that sealed the New Covenant after the Flood).

 

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Artist: Thomas Mpira

Title: Paschal Candle (Celestial Village)

Date: 1990

Themes: Baptism, Children, Christ, Church Furniture, Easter, Kutenga Mwana, Paschal Candle, Village

Source: Vidi

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