Niño Jesus

Jesus as a child

Niño Jesus, 18th century. Unidentified artist. Carved and painted wood and metal, 34 x 14 x 11.2 cm. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

From the Smithsonian’s website:

“Devotional figures of the infant Jesus became popular in Puerto Rico during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. . . . An unknown craftsman carved this small figure in the act of benediction, or blessing, with an orb in his left hand to symbolize God’s dominion over the Earth. The three flame-like shapes around the child’s head represent the three parts of the soul [as delineated by Saint Augustine]: memory, understanding, and will.”

The other, more obvious allusion of the three rays is to the Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit.

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