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Tea plate, Shambellie House, New Abbey



The plate shows the Christian symbol of a pelican in her piety. From mediaeval times the pelican was believed to feed her young with her blood by plucking at her breast.  This was a symbol of the Eucharist or last supper where the bread and wine are the body and blood of Jesus Christ feeding his followers.  The symbol remained popular after the Reformation and was used by Elizabeth I and James I and VI.  Used as an heraldic device, the symbol of the pelican is associated with the Stewarts of Shambellie House. The motto "Je Tâche" means "I try".

Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
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