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Relicarios: Devotional Miniatures from the Americas Paperback – January, 1996

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press (January 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890132542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890132548
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,690,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

There is a timeless pan-human belief that an object that once belonged to another holds power and influence. Protective medallions, amulets, rings, and tefillin fall into this category, and so do relicarios. These encased bits of cloth or bone, theoretically obtained from a religious saint, were small, precious reminders of faith. Imported from Spain to Latin America, relicarios have been largely ignored as sacred tools rather than art objects. After centuries of development in the New World, they have emerged as a unique tradition worthy of study. Egan (Milagros: Votive Offerings from the Americas, LJ 8/91) has given us an intelligent, much-needed history of relicarios and other related items such as detentes. Fascinating to read and full of color illustrations detailing its little-known subject, this book will prove useful to those in the social sciences as well as art and religious studies.
Susan M. Olcott, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

The relicario is the Latin American version of the reliquary locket, a small, finely wrought devotional pendant used to contain relics and mementos of the saints. Martha Egan, renowned authority on Latin American folk art, spent more than five years of travel and investigation finding and documenting the finest examples of Iberian and Latin American reliquary art worldwide. Relicarios: Devotional Miniatures from the Americas presents 125 refined examples of a religious art that rivals the illuminated books and gilded altars of the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Christine Saalbach on March 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Author Martha Egan has a shop called Pachamama in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There she sells antique and traditional folk art from Latin America. Her studies of Latin American folk art have led her to write this book. She has also written a book about milagros and a novel about art brokering and smuggling. She is currently working on a book about Latin American jewelry.
On 13 Feb 2000, I attended her lecture at the San Antonio Museum of Art where Martha has her private collection of relicarios on loan for exhibit. I encourage you to see this exhibit while it is at SAMOA.
Relicarios are devotional miniature pendants or lockets. They sometimes contain bits of bone, tooth, or cloth, reputedly from a saint. Many have survived from the conquest because they were treasured by families or the church. They are often elaborate and finely crafted. Materials used to make relicarios include wood, metal, bone, ivory, and shell.
Relicarios were worn suspended around the neck from a chain or cord. Some are displayed on walls or hung onto church sculptures of saints to honor an answered prayer. Relicarios are still used today as a talisman to "inspire, comfort, and protect the bearer from harm."
A miniature painting or sculpture of a saint is sometimes protected by glass on a relicario. Some relicarios are two-sided works of art. For this reason, SAMOA displays some relicarios so thay can be viewed from both sides.
In her book, Martha describes the ancient origins of relicarios from Greek and Roman times in which "the physical remains of gods or heroes were thought to have magical properties, and possession of such treasures conferred religious and political status upon the owner.
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