La Mano Poderosa

Copied Caban group, La Mano Poderosa, ca. 1875-1925, carved and painted wood with string and metal, 10 1451 12 in. ( cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Teodoro Vidal Collection, 1996.91.34
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Artwork Details

La Mano Poderosa
Attributed to Caban group
ca. 1875-1925
10 1451 12 in. ( cm.)
Credit Line
Teodoro Vidal Collection
Mediums Description
carved and painted wood with string and metal
  • Figure group
  • Figure — fragment — hand
  • Religion — New Testament — Christ
  • Recreation — church — prayer
  • Religion — saint
Object Number

Artwork Description

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.