Walking Priest (Possibly St. Francis of Assissi)
wood, gilt
17 1/2 x 17 1/2"
Polychrome sculptures of Christ, the Virgin and the Saints were a widespread tool for Catholic devotion in the Spanish Colonial world, though they originated in early modern Spain. The figures are assembled from separate painted wooden parts, and held together through an interior armature. The surfaces of polychrome sculptures were originally painted in vibrant colors, gilded with gold leaf, dressed with fine fabrics, real hair and marble eyes. Native Artist unknown, Artist unknown, Mexico workers produced polychrome sculpture in Mission workshops across Mexico. The realistic, material qualities of these sculptures made them powerful tools for conversion and religious teaching in the Missions, where they were (and are) displayed prominently on altars and in church niches. For a Catholic viewer, these polychrome sculptures would have evoked a sense of the saints real physical presence, and functioned as objects of intense devotion.


c. 1725


Artist unknown, Mexico


Gift of Mrs. Edwin Brooks




Artist unknown, Mexico, “MEXICAN,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed December 1, 2023,