The mint’s website says the coin depicts “a mother carrying the earth in her womb, to whom we owe care and love as if it were a daughter, with long ears of wheat in her hair, in a reference between past and future that becomes timeless, and therefore eternal.”
The image on the coin has been compared to carved wooden figures of a pregnant woman that were on display in churches and at events during the Vatican’s 2019 Synod of Bishops on the Amazon. Those figures, referred to by Pope Francis and others as “Pachamama,” were said by some to depict an Andean fertility goddess, while Vatican spokesmen characterized them more vaguely as symbols of “life.”
Two such “Pachamama” figures were eventually taken from a church near the Vatican and thrown into the Tiber River, and were later recovered.
Oldiani, the artist, said he was commissioned by the mint to design a coin expressing the theme of Earth Day, and the idea of the woman bearing the earth was his own approach to that theme.
The image of the young woman “is just something that came to me,” Oldiani told CNA.
The artist said that he was inspired by different messages of Pope Francis on the protection of the earth and he imagined a “fragile earth” and a “young, fertile woman.”
Oldiani noted that he did not want to “make a woman of a certain ethnicity,” representing a certain continent over another.
“I wanted to make a universal woman,” he commented.
Mauro Olivieri, the head of the Vatican’s numismatic office, who is responsible for the issuance of the coins, told CNA that the idea behind the 10 euro coin was “to give a message that care of the earth is loving like the care of a mother for her child.”
He said that his superiors at the governorate also give approval to coin designs.