New World, Spanish Colonial, Mexico, ca. 19th century CE. A beautiful standing wood santo depicting the Virgin Mary. She stands with one hand raised as if in blessing. Her habit is well-carved, with realistic folds, and painted blue with elaborate gold trim. Size: 7.05" W x 17" H (17.9 cm x 43.2 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 California, USA collection
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Hands and feet are lost but figure stands easily on its own. Fine craquelure on surface with some losses to paint and signs of overpainting.