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Carved Figure (Bulto) of Saint Joseph

Arts of the Americas

On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
This statue of Saint Joseph (his staff and the Christ Child are missing) reportedly comes from the church at Zia Pueblo, where it was likely displayed on a sanctuary table. The artist could have been Native American or of Mexican-Hispanic heritage.

Present-day New Mexico was the northernmost frontier of the Spanish colonial empire. Spanish missions were established there to convert the indigenous population to Catholicism. The remoteness of the region encouraged the development of religious folk images that differed greatly from the more elaborate devotional sculptures produced in Europe and the viceregal capital (modern Mexico City).
CULTURE Zia Pueblo
MEDIUM Wood, cloth, gesso, paint
DATES 19th century
DIMENSIONS 25 1/4 x 7 1/2 x 5 1/4in. (64.1 x 19.1 x 13.3cm))  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Riggs Pueblo Pottery Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION A polychrome figure (bulto) of Saint Joseph set on a thick wooden base in a frontal pose with one foot in front of the other. He is dressed in a black short-sleeve robe with a red V-neck collar. A yellow cape with a step-shaped border is draped diagonally over the figure's torso. The skin has a yellow pallor and the eyes are painted white with large black pupils. Three floral motifs are painted on the front of the base. Smaller three-pronged motifs embellish the top surface. There is overall gesso and paint loss on the piece and fabric can be seen under the gesso on the back and sides of the base and cape. The entire left forearm has been broken and is missing.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
CAPTION Zia Pueblo. Carved Figure (Bulto) of Saint Joseph, 19th century. Wood, cloth, gesso, paint, 25 1/4 x 7 1/2 x 5 1/4in. (64.1 x 19.1 x 13.3cm)). Brooklyn Museum, Riggs Pueblo Pottery Fund, 02.257.2425. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 02.257.2425.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 02.257.2425.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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