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Miscellaneous > Sacred Monogram

1. The IHS monogram is the abbreviation of the name of Jesus in Greek.  On this early 16th-century panel the letters are formed partly in Gothic script and partly with the body of a serpent, whch is biting at the I with a full set of teeth while its neck forms part of the H and the rest of its body the S.  The tall upright of the H terminates in a cross that stands triumphant over the evil serpent, representing the conflict between good and evil.

The serpent has incised scale-like decoration and the letters are stippled. The panel was probably once painted and would have resembled an illuminated manuscript.

2. This Gothic tracery panel shows the sacred monogram contained within a roundel, as if set in a stained-glass window; the panel was probably originally painted.  The taller upright of the 'h' is in the form of a cross.

3. 16th-century English carved oak panel showing the sacred monogram IHS in Gothic lettering and another object, probably a pomegranate over a Tudor rose, emblems of Catherine of Aragon (1509-1533) and King Henry VIII.