Joy of Museums

Exploring Museums, Art & Historic Sites

Palmesel (MET)

Palmesel - The Cloisters - "Joy of Museums"

“Palmesel” is the German word for palm donkey and refers to the statue of Jesus on a donkey, mounted on a platform with wheels and is used in Palm Sunday processions. Palm Sunday is a Christian feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in the four canonical Gospels.

In many Catholic and Episcopal denominations, worship services on Palm Sunday include a procession of the faithful carrying palms or other plant branches, representing the palm branches the crowd scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. These parades, which reenacted Christ’s entry into Jerusalem mounted on a donkey, were pageants with hymn singing and palms strewn on the ground before the Palmesel.

The tradition started with the village pastors riding on a donkey at the Palm Procession. However, the donkey often misbehaved and was eventually replaced by a wooden donkey with a riding Christ figure. The Palmesel tradition was rolled back at the time of the Enlightenment, and its use in church celebrations was forbidden in many places. In Salzburg, for example, Archbishop Hieronymus of Colloredo banned such “theatrical representations” of liturgical events in 1779, and this led to the destruction of many Palmesel.

This 500-year-old Palmesel figure of Jesus from Franconia, Germany has an air of quiet majesty. The donkey’s hooves and the fingers on Christ’s hands are restored, the platform and wheels are modern.

More details can be found in our book: TREASURES of the MET

For a convenient guide to the essential highlights of this Museum and for detailed insights to help you appreciate the Museum’s many fascinating exhibits explore our “TREASURES of the MET” book.

DISCOVER the TREASURES of the MET

This “TREASURES of the MET” E-book covers the essential exhibit highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY and provides background information to help you to appreciate its many exhibits. This book offers insights to help make the museum’s many wonders more accessible and meaningful.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art – MET is a museum where every visit brings something new. This new book includes over 75 Chapters featuring the Treasures in the MET. Download “TREASURES of the MET” as a PDF E-book that you can use on most digital devices: Personal Computers, Laptops, iPads, Tablets and Mobile Devices. Or if you prefer, you can easily print our E-Books, to create your own hard-copy paper book.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art is organised into departments and this book is similarly organised into parts to reflect the departments of the MET.

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“The Study of philosophy is not that we may know what men have thought, but what the truth of things is.” Thomas Aquinas

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Photo Credit: 1) By Wikipedia Loves Art participant “Futons_of_Rock” [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons 2) See page for author [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons