Raphael, Vasco da Gama's figurehead

Raphael, Vasco da Gama's figurehead

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Credit: PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Raphael, Vasco da Gama's figurehead. This painted wooden statue of Saint Raphael (an archangel in the Christian tradition) was carried on the Sao Rafael during the 1497-9 voyage by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1460-1524). On the return voyage, the ship was destroyed and the statue was transferred to the Sao Gabriel. Carried on Vasco da Gama's other voyages to India (1502-1503 and 1524) it remained there upon his death. In 1628 it was returned to a chapel in Vidigueira, then moved to the Jeronimos Monastery in 1880. Since 1950, it has been displayed at the Maritime Museum, in Lisbon, Portugal.

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