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19th C. Mexican Painted Wood Santo - St. Joseph

New World, Spanish Colonial, Mexico, ca. 19th century CE. A brightly painted and skillfully carved wood santo of a standing Saint Joseph. A worshipper has given him a painted tin flower and a pendant on a chain. His orange, yellow, red, and green robes are well carved, and his face with glass eyes is sensitive and downcast, with a kind expression. He stands atop a multi-tiered pedestal. Size: 5" L x 6" W x 14" H (12.7 cm x 15.2 cm x 35.6 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.

Condition: Dark surface patina, with areas of wear/loss to paint, especially on the base. Both hands have been repaired and one has losses to the fingers. Traces of wax to stabilize accessories.

Provenance: Ex-Francis & Lilly Robicsek Collection, Charlotte, NC

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