Invitation to Pilgrims
Gnadenreiche Mutter Gottes in Alten-Oettingen.
[Augsburg: s.n., before 1780]. (BRB0944)
This rare devotional object invited German Christians to make a pilgrimage to the Chapel of the Virgin Mary at Altötting in eastern Bavaria. Engraved in Augsburg by Joseph Erasmus Belling (d. 1780), and perhaps sold there, the single sheet of paper was cut and folded to form a small envelope that opens up in the shape of a devotional triptych.
When the object is folded like an envelope, the German poem on the exterior invites the reader to come to Altötting. Opened, the hand-colored central image of the triptych depicts the shrine of the Virgin and Child. The illustrations on the side panels feature images of the Virgin appearing to beggars on the left and to the sick on the right. Verses engraved below describe the spiritual benefits of visiting the shrine. The reverse sides of the outer panels depict the Chapel at Altötting and clerics worshipping beneath an image of the Virgin. The circular emblem of the Sacred Heart with the Virgin’s monogram at the top of the triptych serves as the “seal” for the folded invitation.