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Puerto Rican Wooden Saints: Images of
The Three Magi
Click on the thumbnails to open them in their own page



Luis González
2002
Toste-Mediavilla
Collection
 


Isaac Laboy
1996
Toste-Mediavilla
Collection


Juan Muñiz
circa 1940
Toste-Mediavilla
Collection


Florencio Cabán
circa 1940
Toste-Mediavilla
Collection
 


Unknown
Carver
late XIX cent.
Toste-Mediavilla
Collection


Isaac Laboy
The Magi and the Three Marys
1998
Toste-Mediavilla
Collection

See the significance of the Three Marys below


Domingo Orta
1997
Toste-Mediavilla
Collection

 

 

The Three Magi--also known as the Three Kings, or the Three Wise Men--are characters of popular culture, whose main function is to watch over children's behavior and bring them gifts. Their origin is the Bible, specifically the Gospel of Matthew, the only place that they are mentioned. Some say they were Persian pilgrim priests of the Zoroasterian tradition, and there is little more to be found in Matthew's Gospel about them. How many they were, exactly is not mentioned or where they came from. Actually their number is commonly said to be three: Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar, and they are considered to be originating from Asia, Europe and Africa respectively.
How are the Magi represented in the tradition of Puerto Rican Wooden Saint-Carving?
From a very early time, the Magi has been subjects for representation by artists, painters and sculptors. They are usually shown as three in number; mounted on horses or camels, or kneeling before the manger of Jesus. It was not until the end of the Fourteenth Century that one of the Magi was represented as a black man and only after the beginning of the Sixteenth was this form of representing them generalized.
What is the significance of the Three Marys?
In the saint-carving tradition, three similarly-dressed women appear in front of the three Magi. In the Gospels three Marys appear before Christ on Calvary: the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and a third Mary variously identified as Mary of Cleofas or Mary Salome.