Spanish Colonial, Mexico, ca. 19th century CE. A hand-carved and painted wooden Santo depicting Santiago Matamoros also known as Saint James The Greater or Santiago the Moor Slayer, as a rider on horseback, his horse rearing dramatically. The figure and horse were carved separately and joined via a dowel. Note that in addition to presenting a magnificently carved form, the Slayer has inlaid glass eyes. The image is based on European paintings of Santiago Matamoros - triumphant upon a white horse, dressed in lavish vestments, wielding an intimidating sword and trampling over many severed heads of Moors. Similar iconography also constitutes the central section of a 7 panel altarpiece in the Chapel of the Alcazar of Segovia. Santiago Matamoros was one of Christ's disciples who is believed to have founded the Christian church in Spain. Size: 11.125" H (28.3 cm); 11.375" H (28.9 cm) on included custom stand.
In addition, a myth of the Middle Ages describes how years after his death, Santiago Matamoros miraculously resurfaced in the battle of Clavijo in 844. During this battle he assisted the Christian King Ramiro I of Asturias in his victory over the Moors who ruled Spain between 711 and 1492.
Provenance: private California, USA collection
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The figure of Santiago Matamoros is missing his left hand, fingers of right hand, right foot, tip of nose, and minute section of helmet ornament. Tip of left foot reattached. Losses to horse's red bridle fittings and tail. Repair and visible fissure to one rear leg. Expected surface wear with scuffs, nicks, and pigment losses. Some touch up to red cloak, dark green vestments, and horse's coat. Hole drilled under horse to fit custom stand.