Much used in ecclesiastical art, with its youthful innocence, exuberance and vulnerability, the lamb has long been a symbol of spring, of birth, of life itself. Easter is the time of year most associated with this sweetest of creatures, which graces both sides of our 2017 Easter coin in both special uncirculated quality in silver and uncirculated quality in copper.
In Christian iconography the lamb is often depicted holding a victory banner, which represents the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Above a realistic illustration of a lamb in the foreground of the reverse of the coin, a naïve representation of the Lamb of God is holding such a banner. The latter is from a relief sculpture found on an early 13thcentury keystone in parish church of St Egidi in the Austrian province of Steiermark (Styria). The young sheep figures in a seasonal tradition in that part of southern Austria as what is known as Sinn Gebäck (literally, ‘meaning bread’), when an Easter lamb baked in dough is served on the breakfast table.