Palimpsests

At some shrines a sense of critical mass is redoubled by a palimpsest effect, particularly when the space allotted for offerings is insufficient to the demand. Proof of an image’s miraculousness accumulates through the strata of layered offerings with value added as the individual testimony of each offering is enhanced by collective impact. To some degree the individual offering is subsumed into the collective, so that devotees need not read any specific text or image because the collective presence is sufficient to make the point. The same is true of votive graffiti; deciphering the layered inscriptions is less important than the fact that the wall is covered.