National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Bulto of Santiago Bulto of Santiago
Rendered by Agnes Sims (artist), 1955
watercolor, gouache and graphite on paper
overall: 29.4 x 21.7 cm (11 9/16 x 8 9/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 14" high
Index of American Design
1943.8.1641
Not on View
From the Tour: Folk Arts of the Spanish Southwest from the Index of American Design
Object 15 of 25

Perhaps the best example of a small group, this "bulto" represents Saint James Santiago, the warrior saint of Spain and the patron saint of horses and horsemen. Saint James is a national hero in Spain, having supposedly caused the Spanish victory against the Moors in the Battle of Clavijo in 834. According to legend, he is buried at Compostela in northwestern Spain, perhaps the most famous shrine in Europe during the Middle Ages. In many cases, Saint James is therefore shown as a pilgrim; but in the New World, his venerators more closely identified with his image as a horseman — the killer of the Moors — and that is how he is shown here. The horse is traditionally white; but unlike similar European versions, it is quite small in proportion to its rider, indicating that the main concern of the craftsman was the saint himself.

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