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Tree of Jesse window at Dorchester Abbey, with the branches of the tree forming the tracery.[1]
Wikimedia Commons

The Tree of Jesse is an artistic depiction of the ancestry of Jesus beginning with Jesse, the father of David, King of Israel. Based largely on the genealogy of Jesus as described in the first chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, it takes the form of a tree springing from Jesse’s loins.[2] Jesus’s ancestry was important to early Christians, as the Old Testament prophet Isaiah had predicted that the Messiah would come from the House of David.[1]

The tree’s branches are labelled with the names of Jesse’s descendants, culminating with Jesus.[1] It first appeared in manuscripts during the medieval period,[a]The earliest known depiction of the Tree of Jesse dates from 1086.[3] and subsequently in stained glass, stone carving, embroidery, metalwork, and painting.[2]


a The earliest known depiction of the Tree of Jesse dates from 1086.[3]



Devonshire Jones, Tom, et al., editors. “Jesse, Tree Of.” The Oxford Dictionary of Christian Art and Architecture, Online, Oxford  University Press, 2013,
Fletcher, Stella. “Jesse, Tree Of.” The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by Andrew Louth, Online, Oxford  University Press, 2022,
Williams, Jean Anne Hayes. The Earliest Dated Tree of Jesse Image: Thematically Reconsidered. Florida State University, 25 Jan. 2007,