Image of 15th century Palmesel, from Franconia, Germany. © Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Palmesel, German for Palm Donkey, is a half-sized figure of Christ on an ass, mounted on a wheeled platform. In the Middle Ages, the Palmesel was an important part of Palm Sunday processions throughout many German speaking regions.
For me, the Palmesel symbolises a truth about sculpture. The maker strives to reproduce Christ's entry into Jerusalem, by carving, constructing and painting. A vision of religious contemplation is produced, moving through crowds and pulled by worshippers. However, the act of making this illusion, and the mechanism used, ensures that the sculpture is always earthed. It is an object on a trolley, after all.
Paul Lewthwaite, 2014.