2010/2 Summaries


Verzamelaars en producenten van bedevaartvaantjes (1853-1970). Emotionele omgang met traditioneel religieus erfgoed

Summary: Collectors and makers of pilgrimage pennants (1853-1970). An emotional approach to a traditional religious legacy
This contribution verifies which meanings have been attributed by historians and folklorists to the medium of pilgrimage pennants and how collectors have tried to influence the production, shaping and distribution of this type of devotional item. Any insight in this matter could lead to a better interpretation of some still in public or private collections archived copies.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, local historians started to consider the pilgrimage pennant as a valuable historica’ source of information.
Some of these historians even started to collect them. However, as of the late nineteenth century, especially folklorists started to pay attention. They considered the pennant as an aspect of a religious popular culture from the past and the present. Many folklorists saw the pennant as a typical form of popular art.
Several folklorists-collectors, in consultation with the local dergy, started to make pilgrimage pennants during the twentieth century in order to conserve the age-old custom of distributing these pennants at pilgrimage sites.
Especially Bernard Janssens (Lier), Stan Jena (Leuven) and Renaat van der Linden (Zottegem) have been active in this area.



Was en wasartefacten. Een cultuurhistorische benadering

Summary: Wax and waxen artefacts. A cultural-historical approach
Thanks to its exquisite qualities, wax has played an important role in private as well as in collective life. Bees’ wax used to illuminate mansions, churches and chapels and was an essential element in liturgy. In the Low Countries the consumption of pure wax – in spite its exorbitant price – kept growing, which resulted in an international wax trade. The expenditure of wax in rituals, processions and pageants was paid for by donations (in vivo and post mortem), taxes and fines.
Some believe that the way a candle burns, drips and goes out has a symbolic meaning (ceromancy). Waxen artefacts, especially (consecrated) candles, are said to protect people. Small waxen dummies, ‘clivorce candles’, etc are used to enchant, hurt and kill. But love can also be stimulated by candle magie: lovers’ candles, genital candles, etc. Funeral effigies, anatomie models and curios ended up in diverting people on the market-place and in wax museums. There are lots of occasions when people still need a lighted candle: at home, in places of pilgrimage as well as in the public domain.



Humor en volkscultuur

Summary: Humour and popular culture
Humour plays a significant role in both modern society and the popular and folk culture of the present and past centuries. Humour can be both legitimizing and lib­erating. It can be both related to incongruity and aggressiveness and be a powerful instrument for releasing psychological pressures. During the past centuries no schol-ar has thought of a satisfying definition of humour and this article doesn’t offer one either.
For popular culture the ideas of Michael Bakhtin are important. He stated that the popular cultures of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance were cultures of laughter. Bakhtin’s ideas were later criticized, e.g. by Aaron Gurevich. Like Bakthin Gurevich underlined the importance of the grotesque for medieval culture, but he claimed that the grotesque isn’t only humorous.
In popular culture there are a lot of different topics that are humour-related. This article describes the following categories: the joke, penny prints, puppetry, comme­dia dell’arte, fables, picaresque literature, caricatures, charivari, vaudeville, farces, nicknames, court jesters and clowns and carnival.
The social aspect of humour is very important. The views on the social role of humour differ. Some scholars state that humour is powerful, others claim that it isn’t. It is dear however that humour is very diverse and that it makes every day life colourful and interesting.