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Foundation picture from 1598 owned by the parish of Traunkirchen
The destroying of the idol, detail of the picture
Translation of the inscription by K. Amon, 1986
Foundation picture by C. Ritter, from the city archive of Gmunden HS 129, OÖLA

11. Foundation picture

Traunkirchen Abbey through the ages

Geschichte Kloster Traunkirchen
Traunkirchen, Austria
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When looking at the picture, questions arise like why a foundation picture for a 900-year-celebration in 1532, why a restored copy of the picture in 1598?

Interpretation of the foundation picture from 1598

The focus is on the handing over of a monastery church to Our Lady, and the establishment of Ata as the first abbess. Maria, three cherries (symbol of bliss) in her right hand, holding the baby Jesus with her left hand, looks at two knights, Otokar and Leopold, who are stretching out a Romanesque church, held by an angel with golden wings at the top of the tower. On the right in the picture, Margrave Otakar hands over the rod and a bunch of keys to the first abbess Ata. Behind her are nuns, holding a scale (for jurisdiction) with fish and deer (for possessions). This representation should probably symbolize the importance of the monastery for the attainment of heavenly beatitude.
The destruction of an idol by two knights, such as the battle of Turkish warriors with fellow countrymen and peasants under the Christian flag, should obviously represent the victory over the heathens, as well as the victory over the Hungarians (according to the legend in 902 in the Siegesbach Valley) as a foundation order. The client of the picture on the left kneeling on a prayer stool, Abbess Barbara II Kirchperger, like the administrator Josef Pramer, alongside the founders, have been immortalized in the picture.

Attempted explanation

In the 16th century, when monasteries were in decline, their endeavors were to push the time of their foundation as high as possible into the Middle Ages and to have the foundation done by a baronial or royal family. (L. Kegele, 1898) A 900-year-celebration and a founding picture in 1632 further suggests that sponsors were sought for the monastery, which burned down in 1627. In 1598 the monastery was empty and its continued existence as a monastic institution was very controversial.
The foundation date of 900 years and the graphic representation suggest that church buildings, perhaps a hermitage, an older church, a small church on Johannesberg, and Nikolausberg may have existed on the remains of pagan sacrificial sites as early as the 7th century.
Regarding the year of the foundation as a nunnery, it should be noted that the first abbess Ata was probably the daughter of the Chiemgau Count Otakar (Oci + 1020) and Wilibirgis, daughter of Count Arnold of Lambach. Ata could have been a sister of Otakar I, margrave of Styria. It is certain that the relatives of Ata, the Chiemgau, later Styrian Otakars were generous benefactors and bailiffs of the monastery. A revitalization or reestablishment of the nun convent Traunkirchen is therefore to be scheduled around 1020 during the lifetime of the above mentioned people.

© E. Rumpf, R. Hofbauer; Translation: XiBIT Infoguide GmbH