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The vase of lilies on the Gothic bench behind Mary is not only decorative, it also has symbolic meaning. Written on the vase in golden letters is Mary’s answer to the Angel Gabriel: ‘ecce ancilla domini’ (Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord). The lily is a symbol of Mary’s purity. For both Stefan Lochner and Van Eyck, whom Lochner greatly admired, symbols and naturalistic representation are inseparable. The vase, laden with symbolic meaning, stands at the edge of the bench and looks as if it could fall off at any moment, thereby attracting the attention of the beholder and better transmitting its inner message.