New World, Spanish Colonial, Mexico, ca. 19th century CE. A hand-carved and hand-painted wood dove, made from three pieces, with realistic body and attached wings, the dove delineated in grey-green hues, with a red underbody and neck. The upper body is unpainted and has an exposed nail (showing how the wings are attached) and a hook for hanging. Clearly this dove was made to soar above the congregation who could look up at it and contemplate its message of peace as the embodiment of the Holy Spirit. Size: 4" L x 23" W x 12" H (10.2 cm x 58.4 cm x 30.5 cm)
Carved wood santos and other religious figures played an important role in bringing the Catholic Church to the New World with the Spanish colonists. These religious figures were hand-carved and were used to explain religious stories to new, indigenous converts. Likewise, they served as a connection to the Old World for Spanish colonists far from home. They became a folk art tradition in the Spanish New World, from modern day Guatemala to as far north as New Mexico and Colorado. Many of them were lovingly cared for over the years, with repairs and paint added as they aged, and played an active part for a long time in the religious life of their communities.
Provenance: Ex-Francis & Lilly Robicsek Collection, Charlotte, NC
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