Vatican City, Oct 16, 2020 / 09:15 am
A new coin minted by the Vatican City State depicts a woman carrying the earth in her womb. The artist who designed the coin, which commemorates Earth Day, has said the design was his response to the ecological theme he was commissioned to portray.
The Vatican City State Mint released a new series of coins Friday, with themes on migrants, Earth Day, the painter Raphael, and the Acts of the Apostles.
The 10 euro silver coin marks the 50th anniversary of World Earth Day. The front of the coin is the image of a pregnant woman embracing her round belly, which looks like a globe. Stalks of wheat are in her hair.
Luigi Oldiani, an Italian sculptor and Catholic who designed the coin, told CNA that he wanted to imagine “the earth as a young, pregnant woman who protects the earth — a young mother.”
The mint’s website says the coin depicts “a mother carrying the earth in her womb, to whom we owe care and love as if it were a daughter, with long ears of wheat in her hair, in a reference between past and future that becomes timeless, and therefore eternal.”
The image on the coin has been compared to carved wooden figures of a pregnant woman that were on display in churches and at events during the Vatican’s 2019 Synod of Bishops on the Amazon. Those figures, referred to by Pope Francis and others as “Pachamama,” were said by some to depict an Andean fertility goddess, while Vatican spokesmen characterized them more vaguely as symbols of “life.”
Two such “Pachamama” figures were eventually taken from a church near the Vatican and thrown into the Tiber River, and were later recovered.
Oldiani, the artist, said he was commissioned by the mint to design a coin expressing the theme of Earth Day, and the idea of the woman bearing the earth was his own approach to that theme.