Wayside Shrines, term for small monuments made of wood or stone (to be found on hills, pilgrimage routes, at crossroads, the end of villages etc.) with pictures, reliefs, or (since the 17th century) plastic representations of religious scenes, often bearing an inscription; in a broader sense, the term also includes wayside crosses, trees with religious pictures attached, mural reliefs or statues, field chapels, columns or wayside shrines with crucifixes attached. In Austria, the practice of attaching pictures of saints or religious scenes to pole-like shrines dates from the Middle Ages; the first pictures of such shrines date from the 14th century, bearing strong gothic characteristics. Later, the shrines were strongly influenced by the Baroque and Rococo styles. The theory that such shrines derive from the stone pillars in cemeteries with a tabernacle-like top containing lights in commemoration of the dead, is, however, disputed. In Carinthia, the shrines are lavishly painted and frequently have steep, tent-like roofs.
Literature#F. Hula, Die Totenleuchten und Bildstoecke Oesterreichs, 1948; J. Weingartner, Tiroler Bildstoecke, 1948; E. Skudnigg, Bildstoecke und Totenleuchten in Kaernten, 1967; J. Duenninger and B. Schemmel, Bildstoecke und Marterln in Franken, 1970; E. Schneeweis, Bildstoecke in Niederoesterreich, 1981; A. Leeb, Die Flurdenkmale im Strassertal, 1993.