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Horacio Valdez
Carreta de Muerte (Death Cart)
1978
painted cottonwood, hair, and leather
55 1/2 x 51 7/8 x 32 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment



Members of the Penitente sect of northern New Mexico drag death carts through the streets during Holy Week to remind the faithful of their mortality. Valdez followed a two-hundred-year-old tradition when he carved this figure of death riding in a cart, ready to claim new victims with his bow and arrow.