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Nino Jesus

18th century Unidentified carved and painted wood and metal 13 3/8 x 5 1/2 x 4 3/8 in. (34.0 x 14.0 x 11.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Teodoro Vidal Collection 1996.91.52 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 21B

Luce Center Label

Devotional figures of the infant Jesus became popular in Puerto Rico during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Santeros carved the faces and hands of the statues realistically and clothed the figures with luxurious fabrics. An unknown craftsman carved this small figure in the act of benediction, or blessing, with an orb in his left hand to symbolize God's dominion over the Earth. The three flame-like shapes around the child's head represent the three parts of the soul: memory, understanding, and will. (Lange, Santos: The Household Wooden Saints of Puerto Rico, PhD diss., 1975)


Emblem - cross

Religion - New Testament - Christ