New World, Mexico, Spanish Colonial, ca. 19th century CE. A tall, hand-carved wooden santo depicting a dark-robed Christ. He stands with his right hand raised in a gesture of blessing and his left hand extended out, palm up. His robes are sumptuously carved and painted. He wears a tall, distinctive, tin halo/crown with three cross-like points. A worshipper has placed a string of bright red beads around his neck. He stands on a tiered platform that is also 19th century but appears to be somewhat newer than the santo figure itself, as is the style with many santos. Size: 6" L x 7.5" W x 22.75" H (15.2 cm x 19 cm x 57.8 cm)
Santos played an important role in bringing the Catholic Church to the New World with the Spanish colonists. These religious figures were hand-carved and often furnished with crowns, jewels, and other accessories, usually funded by religious devotees, and were used as icons to explain the major figures - Mary, Christ, and the saints - 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: private Francis & Lilly Robicsek collection, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
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