Donor figures can be found in many objects made of different materials in the Burrell Collection.
Two examples on display are a beautiful limewood carving of the nativity scene and a tapestry showing four scenes from the life of the Virgin.
The limewood carving of the nativity scene is from the wing of an altar-piece and dates to around 1500. It comes from an area in southern Germany (Franken) which was famous for its very fine limewood carving. Limewood has a very close grain and cuts easily and cleanly. Other woods, such as oak, which was more widely used in other parts of Europe, have a strong grain and are very tough making it exceptionally difficult to carve in the same way.
The donors here are shown in a realistic pose on top of the wall looking down on the activity below. How different they are from Siegfried von Gelnhausen…
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