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From Holy Mother Wisdom to Hannah Ann Treadway (Shaker Inspirational Drawing)

1845
Attributed to Sarah Bates, American (Shaker), 1792 - 1881
Although the devout, celibate Shakers had firm rules against decoration and embellishment, which were thought to distract the mind from religion, during a few years around the middle of the nineteenth century, certain members of two of their communities (in Hancock, Massachusetts, and Mount Lebanon, New York) served as "instruments of the Lord" to produce symbolic drawings that were considered gifts from the spirit world. These delicately penned visual testimonies to visionary experiences repeat particular motifs, such as schematic trees, birds, flowers, moons, eyes, and hearts. Although probably not considered works of art by their makers, their designs are often spectacularly beautiful....

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