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Wooden statue of St Margaret of Antioch, Europe, 1701-1850

In this wooden carving, St Margaret of Antioch (d. 304 CE) is shown trampling a dragon. Margaret is the Catholic patron saint of nurses and women in childbirth. She could also be invoked in relation to infertility. Christian saints are believed to protect against, and help cure, specific diseases and dangers. One story of Margaret’s martyrdom tells of her being harassed by the ruler of Antioch (now in modern day Turkey), who wanted her to become his mistress. Margaret refused because of her Christian beliefs and was tortured and thrown into prison where she was swallowed by a dragon. She escaped unharmed only to be beheaded.

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Glossary: statue

A sculpture in the round representing human or animal figures or small figure groups; a statuette is a smaller sculpture.

Glossary: patron saint

A saint believed to protect or guide a place or particular group of people.

Glossary: saint

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