An impressive 18th century Spanish-Filipino Crucifix

Image of An impressive 18th century Spanish-Filipino Crucifix

Cristo Vivo
18th century, accompanying cross dated 1768; Spanish Philippines
Polychrome wood with set glass eyes with a gilt and polychrome cross

Approximate size (including cross and base): 78.7 cm

The base of the cross reads:
yo soy el camino la verdad la vida (I am the path of truth and life)

During the mid-17th century, Christian emigrants and missionaries to the Spanish colonies (South America and/or Philippines) created a demand for devotional works of private and public use, the elaborately carved present crucifix being one such example. The present corpus, although probably 18th century, may be older than its accompanying cross, elaborately painted, which is dated 1768.

The perizonium, whose thick knot along the proper right of Christ, exposed double-rope belt and drapery folding over the front-center indicate a probable origin in Spanish-ruled Philippines. The overall visual language and treatment of Christ’s physiognomy and hair also recall the talented and prolific carvers of ivory corpora active in that region during the 18th century.