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19th C. Portuguese Wood Santo, St. Joseph & Baby Jesus

Europe, Spain or Portugal, ca. 19th century CE. A very large carved wood Saint Joseph (San Jose) tenderly cradling the infant Jesus, the heads of both the infant Jesus and Joseph endearingly close, as father looks sweetly upon his son's visage. The baby Jesus holds an orb in his left hand, representing his Christian dominion, and makes the benediction with his right. Both are dressed in flowing vestments and don matching silvered tin haloes nicely detailed in repousse. Size: 6.5" L x 8" W x 28.5" H (16.5 cm x 20.3 cm x 72.4 cm)

Saint Joseph is revered for his protection at death, he is the patron of family, fathers, husbands, carpenters, and those in search of a home.

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. 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. Oftentimes regarded as quite valuable and expensive, the creation of Santos was usually funded by religious devotees.

Condition: San Jose probably once held a blooming staff. Losses to infant Christ's fingers. San Jose's right hand carved separately and fitted to arm. Cross finial missing from orb. Age cracks as shown. Large perforation on verso. One piece reattached to base.

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

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