A Temple Sacred by Birth and Built by Hands Divine

Sculpture by Luis Tapia, A Temple Sacred by Birth and Built by Hands Divine, 2004. In la frontera norteña—the northern border of the Spanish frontier—the presence of the divine was a part of daily life as well as the focus of special rituals during Holy Week, in which carved figures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary were carried through the streets in imitation of Christ’s Passion. These figures, called santos (religious carvings depicting saints) or bultos (saints carved in the round), often feature solid bases and elongated forms so they can be raised and seen from high. Some of the earliest santos appear to be in the style of the Spanish baroque. In modern practice, santos are a sophisticated and vibrant art form.

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