UbuWeb Ethnopoetics

"The gift drawing The Narrow Path to Zion, executed by Emily Babcock about 1843, was about eight and one half feet long. It depicts the walking of the narrow path. At the end of the row of lines are rewarding fruit trees and brick walls of Zion over which hover angels. Along the path leading to this goal are instruments of mortification that seekers could experience. Believers could use the tools for self-inflicted pain to further them on the way to salvation or evil people (or Satan) could use them to cause Believers pain and disruption. Surviving the struggle produced martyrs and saints. … Although [the eight sheets that comprise the drawings] are now separate, they were once attached to each other by narrow strips of glued paper. In 1844 a seventeen-foot-long scroll was unrolled on a bench during worship in the Watervliet meeting house. It had been ‘written by Inspiration, & in hiragliphics about a year since." (John T. Kirk, in Shaker Gift Drawings and Gift Songs, The Drawing Center, New York, 2001)

Words — not highly visible in the reproduction — name instruments and stations along the path.

The image is continued in Example Nine. -->

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