Religion and art



Shells have been used in rituals and have been covered with religious and and symbolic  value throughout the times in every corner of the world. It’s not by chance that  Venus is represented as generated from a scallop  and Vishnu holds in one of her four arms a Xancus pyrum.  Also, Saint Jacob of Compostela sanctified a shell, the Pecten jacobeus. The Hindu community considers as holy a particular shell, which is heavy and white, expecially when it has reverse spires, being very rare. Many Christian churches use the valve of Tridacna gigas  for holy water, in fact the name of this shell in french is “bénitier”. Shells are also used for pouring the holy water in baptism.
In art shells have always had a fondamental role; besides the one painted by Botticelli, we remember the Conus marmoreus  by Rembrand, and the shells painted or sculptured by Arciboldo, Giorgio Morandi, Enrico Baj, Valeriano Trubbiani and many others.
The Malacological Museum of Cupra Marittima dedicates a special attention to the shells in art with its permanent and temporary exibitions.