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Las Once Mil Virgenes

first half of the 20th century Francisco "Pacheco" Claudio carved and painted wood overall: 6 3/8 x 8 1/2 x 9 in. (16.2 x 21.6 x 22.8 cm.) A (first row): 6 1/8 x 8 1/2 x 2 in. (15.6 x 21.6 x 5.2 cm.) B (second row): 6 1/8 x 8 1/2 x 1 3/4 in. (15.6 x 21.6 x 4.5 cm.) C (third row): 6 x 8 3/8 x 1 3/4 in. (15.3 x 21.3 x 4.5 cm.) D (fourth row): 6 3/8 x 8 3/8 x 2 1/8 in. (16.2 x 21.3 x 5.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Teodoro Vidal Collection 1996.91.35A-D Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 21B

Luce Center Label

The rigid poses and identical dress of these carved figures evoke a choir. According to legend, St. Ursula was the daughter of a British Christian king. Betrothed against her will to a pagan prince, she made a pilgrimage to Rome to delay the wedding. For three years she sailed on a ship with a thousand virgins; ten noble virgins, each of whom traveled in her own ship with a thousand companion virgins, accompanied them. On their journey home to Britain, they were martyred in Cologne by the Huns after Ursula refused to marry their chief. A church was later built there to honor the maidens. Depictions of Las Once Mil Vírgenes are prevalent in Puerto Rican imagery. (Yvonne Lange, “Santos: The Household Wooden Saints of Puerto Rico,” PhD diss., 1975)


Figure group - female

Religion - New Testament - Eleven Thousand Virgins