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Los Reyes Magos

ca. 1875-1900 Caban group carved and painted wood with metal and string 8 1/8 x 11 7/8 x 6 in. (20.7 x 30.3 x 15.3 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Teodoro Vidal Collection 1996.91.31 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 21B


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Los Reyes Magos

Luce Center Label

The tradition of venerating the Magi, or Los Reyes Magos (the Three Kings), in Puerto Rico originated in medieval Europe, where the figures were included in Nativity scenes. Puerto Ricans celebrate Three Kings Day on January 6, when families get together and children receive gifts from Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. Many santeros, who carve wooden images of saints, create sculptures of the kings, even though they are not technically viewed as saints. Puerto Rican artists usually depict the wise men riding horses, rather than camels, and the black king Melchior is almost always shown on a white horse.

Keywords

Equestrian

Religion - New Testament - Magi

sculpture

fabric - string

metal

wood