New World, Mexico, Spanish Colonial period, ca. early 19th century CE. A brightly painted Nina Maria figure, made from cast plaster and mounted on a wooden base, with glass eyes and real eyelashes. Her realistically-crinkled skirts are comprised of papier-mache, painted in rich, vibrant green and yellow hues. The upper mantle of her dress is painted silver, with a round silver medallion in the center of her chest and two matching ones holding up her sleeves. Size: 7.15" W x 13.55" H (18.2 cm x 34.4 cm)
Nina Maria's face is sensitively painted, with a serene expression matched by her reaching hand gesture, raised as if to comfort. Perforations for pegs in the figure's back indicate that she was probably made to stand with a similar figure of Saint Anne, her mother. Her wooden base is likewise perforated for attachment to a larger stand. She would have once worn a wig and crown.
Nina Maria, the young Mary, is an important and humanizing depiction, and her worship is especially strong in Mexico. It began there in the 1840s after a vision of the young Mary seen by Sister Magdalena, a nun in Mexico City. Figures like this one were made to honor the childhood of the most important woman in the Catholic canon.
Provenance: Ex-Brustin Collection, California
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