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  • Heavenly Path News Team

"Támata" - suffering body, ailing soul’ from the collection of Lola Daifá

Exhibition of votive objects of supplication and offering. Tokens of healing and salvation.

The Mount Athos Center presents this original exhibition of votive objects of supplication and offering from the collection of támata (votive offerings) belonging to the collector Lola Daifá.

The exhibition, which is being held in the exhibition space of the Mount Athos Center, will be officially opened on Thursday 7 July 2022 at 8.00 p.m.

This is the first time that the támata from Mrs Daifá’s collection have been put on public display, allowing visitors to have a close view of objects designed to serve as votive offerings: to give thanks, to express supplications or entreaties, or to serve as tokens of healing or salvation from faithful believers – objects which all of us know well and hold dear. Also, the exhibition’s information panels present the history and use of votive objects from ancient Greek times up to the present day. The diachronicity of votive offerings shows man’s constant need of hope, a quality that transcends the bounds of human nature.

In a brief statement, Mrs Daifá declared the following:

I feel as if a tama of my own is being fulfilled by this exhibition… The támata form one of the three collections I have. I began with antefixes, then moved on to historical dishes and then támata.

In order to collect támata you need a strong sense of empathy, you need experience of life. You must have seen both the bright and, more frequently, the harsh side of life.

These small objects have to do with very deep emotions. They represent prayers and invocations to the divine.

Made either of silver, gold or humble strips of metal, they tell stories full of pain or joy.

Támata “speak” and unfold human dramas, so long as someone is prepared to listen to them: wedding wreaths offered so that a marriage might prosper; a depiction of a soldier who has gone away to fight while his mother waits for him at home; all kinds of seacraft battling against Poseidon’s whims; a baby in swaddling clothes; a farmer’s animals, which secure the family’s livelihood; a home as a refuge and stronghold; a book for success in exams; a depiction of the longed-for diploma, and, of course, examples of the supreme prayer for good health.

This is the first time that this collection has been on the road and I am greatly honoured that it is being hosted in the country’s Byzantine capital and in the historic, beautiful and blessed premises of the Mount Athos Center.

P.S. If you want to know which tama is my favourite, the one that speaks to my heart, it’s a simple silver plate with the artistically engraved words “Mother Mary, hear my prayer, help me”.

May the mother of all help all those who need it…

“Watch over us, hearken unto us and have mercy upon us”… Amen.

In his introductory note the curator of the exhibition, Dr. Panagiotis Kambanis, observes the following:

How many of us have never been “on the bed of pain” and how many of us have never stood for at least a moment before an icon of Christ, the Virgin Mary or a saint and lit a candle, beseeching them with tears in our eyes to relieve our mental or bodily pain or to heal us of a grave illness?

Támata may represent a ‘base’ aspect of religion but each and every one of them, whether big or small, reveals a human story, a story of anguish, hope, supplication and fulfilment, an expression of personal devotion.

Throughout history, votive objects have been tokens of personal faith in a particular deity, who, in return, provides some form of redemption. These acts of devotion remain ”useful supplements“ and are not “substitutes”, which imply a conscious rejection of all that has gone before.

Mrs Daifá’s collection is accompanied by a series of artworks inspired by the theme of támata and executed by the following artists: Theodoros Galigalidis, Fani Gountra, Evi Dimolaïdou, Mary Harman, Markos Kambanis, Costas Karakitsos, Maria Kombatsiari, Giorgos Kordis, Alekos Kyrarinis, Vasilis Moralis, Theodoros Papagiannis, Sakis Papagiannis, Georgios Polymeros and Aris Stoïdis.

In addition, a number of unique támata will be placed on display, including a broom and a bottle, a typical tama to the Archangel Michael of the monastery at Panormitis on Symi, the little metal shoes offered to the Archangel Michael of the monastery near Mantamados on Lesbos, and the básmata (slippers) offered to St. Spyridon.

The full catalogue of the támata in Lola Daifá’s collection, entitled Támata: suffering body, ailing soul. The Lola Daifá Collection and edited and written by Dr. Panagiotis Kambanis, is in the press and it is hoped that by the end of the exhibition it will have been released and presented in the Mount Athos Center’s beautiful garden.

Scientific and artistic direction / research / texts: Dr. Panagiotis Kambanis, archaeologist & historian

Official opening: 8.00 p.m. Thursday 7 July 2022

Duration of exhibition: 7 July – 30 September 2022

Exhibition venue: Mount Athos Center, 109 Egnatia St., Thessaloniki

Opening hours:

Monday and Wednesday: 09:00 – 16:00

Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 09:00 – 20:00

Saturday: 09:00 – 14:00

School and group tours can be arranged by appointment.

Mount Athos Center, tel. no. 2310263308 |

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