What to look for in religious art

August 15, 1996

According to Mary Emmerling, author of "New Country Collecting," one of the most important American collectibles as the 20th century draws to a close is the religious art of the Southwest, known as santero village art. (Santeros were the native religious artists of New Mexico.) These are some of the artifacts to look for:

Angelito: a painting or carving of an angel, sometimes no more than face and wings.

Bulto: a decorated statue of a saint carved out of cottonwood.

Cristo: a life-sized carving of the crucified Christ.

Ex voto: a small votive picture on canvas or tin to commemorate a healing or other miracle.

Nicho: a carved wood or punched tin shelf or cabinet to hold religious objects.

Reredos: A framework or niche for religious art.

Retablo: a small religious painting.

Santo: a general term for any religious artifact that guarded the house and answered prayers.

Pub Date: 8/15/96

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