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Title / Description: Orans with dalmatic and veil, catacomb of CallistusCommentary: "Among the subjects depicted in the art of the Roman catacombs one of those most numerously represented is that of a female figure with extended arms known as the Orans, or one who prays. The custom of praying in antiquity with outstretched, raised arms was common to both Jews and Gentiles; indeed the iconographic type of the Orans was itself strongly influenced by classic representations . But the meaning of the Orans of Christian art is quite different from that of its prototypes. Numerous Biblical figures, for instance, depicted in the catacombs - Noah, Abraham, Isaac, the Three Children in the Fiery Furnace, Daniel in the lions' den - are pictured asking the Lord to deliver the soul of the person on whose tombs they are depicted as He once delivered the particular personage represented. But besides these Biblical Orans figures there exist in the catacombs many ideal figures (153 in all) in the ancient attitude of prayer, which, according to Wilpert, are to be regarded as symbols of the deceased's soul in heaven, praying for its friends on earth. This symbolic meaning accounts for the fact that the great majority of the figures are female, even when depicted on the tombs of men."
Author / Creator: Unknown
Object Type: image - fresco
Date: 3rd century
Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11269a.htm
Author of Commentary: Ebony Pollard
Source: Lowrie, Walter Monuments of the Early Church
(New York:Macmillan Company, 1901)
Reference: p. 203 figure 65