Francisco Pancho el Santero” Rivera

born ca. 1840-died ca. 1910
Active in
  • Puerto Rico
  • American

Santeros were makers of santos, carved wooden images of saints used in prayers, and they were believed to be deeply mystical people inspired by God to carve their figures. Myths surrounded the most prominent of them, including Francisco Rivera, who worked in the mountainous region of Corozal in Puerto Rico. According to legend, the santero dislocated his jaw and prayed to San Antonio of Padua to heal him. He vowed to tie a piece of lead to his long beard and wear it for six months in exchange for a cure. (Irene Curbelo, The Expressive Other: Understanding and Enjoying Puerto Rican Santos, 2003)