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Lot 0683
**Originally Listed At $1200**

Latin America, Mexico, ca. 18th century CE. Painstakingly carved from a single piece of wood, a corbel depicting a large bird of prey, perhaps an eagle in reference to Saint John the Evangelist. The eagle is perched amidst a mesmerizing program of intricately arranged scrolled floral or foliage elements. John is symbolized by an eagle, because this magnificent bird could soar into the heavenly realm and his Gospel began as follows, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God"- a sentence that most definitely connotes the heavens. Imagery of the four Evangelists' symbols have graced many cathedrals, the first instances in the mosaic of Sta. Pudenziana, Rome, ca. 400 CE and the wooden doors of Santa Sabina, Rome, ca. 430 CE. Size: 25.5" H (64.8 cm)

Also known as John the Theologian for his ability to channel divine wisdom, Saint John wrote the fourth Gospel (the Book of Revelation), while living in a cave on the isle of Patmos, exiled by Emperor Trajan. There he dictated a dramatic vision of the Apocalypse to the deacon Prochorus, his disciple and steadfast companion. John also wrote the “Gospel of Love” or the “flower of the Gospel” as Origen calls it – in addition to three of the Catholic Epistles. In the words of Patriarch Athenagoras, “John is the source of our loftiest spirituality. Like him, those who are silent know the mysterious confusion that can assail the heart; invoking the presence of John, their hearts catch fire.” John’s symbol is the eagle, chosen for the “sublime manner in which he described the godliness of the Word” according to Christian iconography expert Alfredo Tradigo, who writes, “of all the evangelists, he flew the highest.” (Tradigo, "Icons and Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church" Getty Museum, 2006, p. 262)

Provenance: private Omer Claiborne collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA; acquired over the last 40 years

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#129217

Condition

Expected age cracks and surface wear commensurate with age. Metal ring inserted with Claiborne gallery label suspended.

Starting Bid

$850

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Tall 18th C. Mexican Wood Corbel - Bird of Prey

Estimate $1,900 - $2,850
1d
12h
5m
17s
$8500 bids
Secure
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