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La Mano Poderosa

ca. 1875-1925 Attributed to Caban group carved and painted wood with string and metal 10 1/4 x 5 x 1 1/2 in. (26.1 x 12.8 x 3.7 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Teodoro Vidal Collection 1996.91.34 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, South Wing

Luce Center Label

The All-Powerful Hand symbolizes the wounded hand of the crucified Christ. On its fingertips are representations of the Holy Family. The infant Jesus' position on the thumb represents his importance, since much of a hand's function depends on the thumb. The Virgin sits atop the index finger followed by St. Joseph, as well as St. Anne and St. Joachim, Mary's parents. The inclusion of the extended family reflects the Latin American and Spanish regard for the family above the individual. In this santo, the red marks on the palm represent Christ's wounds. The two metal offerings in the shape of a leg and a human chest attached to the thumb were placed there by a worshiper whose ailments were healed.


Figure group

Figure - fragment - hand

Recreation - church - prayer

Religion - New Testament - Christ

Religion - saint


fabric - string