Spanish Colonial, Mexico, ca. 19th century CE. A colorful Mexican retablo representing "La Cruz de Animas" (Cross of Souls) painted on heavy gauge tin upon a handmade wooden mount. The composition depicts Christ on the Cross, flanked by the sun and moon and surmounted by the Eternal Father in the celestial realm above. At the bottom are 12 animas solas (lonesome departed ancestral souls) pleading for salvation while awaiting judgement in the flames of purgatory. These souls surround a small vignette of Adam and Eve beneath the Tree of Life. Above is La Mater Dolorosa to the left of the Cross and St. Michael holding a sword and scales of justice to the right emphasizing the themes of judgement and redemption. All is set against a beautiful starry blue sky. This form was particular to the Otomi culture from around the state of Queretaro, and acted as a reminder to pray for the safekeeping of the souls of departed ancestors as well as oneself. Size: 14.375" L x 10.375" W (36.5 cm x 26.4 cm)
Provenance: private California, USA collection
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Slight bending and surface wear commensurate with age. Minute areas of oxidation and pigment loss as shown. One perforation above God the Father and one at the base of the Tree of Life. Imagery is quite vivid.