A prioress’ throne

Recently the Lleida Museum finished the refurbishment of the Gothic gallery with a new permanent exhibition displaying some fresh showpieces.

One of them is the throne of Blanca of Aragon and Anjou, daughter of King James II and Blanca of Aragon, who was prioress of the monastery of Santa Maria de Sixena between 1321 and 1347.

It is a piece of simple lines that was located at the heart of the church. This is why it boasts paintings on all sides: tempera on wood. The iconography is of heraldic and religious content, linked to the promoter’s family.

The front side of the back of the chair shows the figures of three full-length nuns who are dressed in the habit of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The one in the centre has been identified as the prioress herself. The reverse back is a representation of the Virgin of the Milk flanked by two angels.

Several images of saints, female as well as male, appear in the rest of the piece, some of them related to the prayer book of of the house of Anjou.

The throne of Sixena was a symbol of the power and dignity of the Priory of the monastery before the community, at the same time influencing the concepts of motherhood and wisdom through its iconography.

This below video gives an impression of the Lleida Museum that is well worth a visit:

Source: Lleida Museum

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