Lot #007

San Jose & Niño In A Virina

Early 19th Century
Ivory, Baticuling, Satin, Gold Thread, Silver, Polychrome, Gold Leaf and Glass
Santo: H:17” x L:10 1/2” x W:6” (43 cm x 27 cm x 15 cm) Virina: H:30 1/2” x L:18” x W:10 1/2” (77 cm x 46 cm x 27 cm)
Starting Bid : Php 300,000
HP + BP : Php 1,284,800
Provenance Northern Luzon, probably Pangasinan
After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 glass domes containing flower bouquets in porcelain vases were imported from France. The glass domes, locally called virinas, were soon used to encase santos, especially ivory ones or those dressed in gold-embroidered vestments. The hermetically sealed domes prevented the air from tarnishing the gold embroidery and the gilding of the bases. In this particular example, the virina was used to encase images of St. Joseph and the Child Jesus, with the former holding the hand of the Child and looking downward at Him. The statues have ivory faces, hands and feet attached to a wooden body. The faces, especially that of the Niño, are somewhat chubby in form. Both santos have wigs fashioned from human hair and are clothed in gold-embroidered satin robes whose colors have faded, probably due to exposure to sunlight. The embroidery, however, is magnificently done, as is usual in Vigan santos. The Niño wears a short tunic over pantalettes edged with gold lace. The gilded staff of St. Joseph is missing, but he has an umbrella-type silver-gilt halo over his head. Both santos stand on a beautifully carved gilded base in pristine condition. The virina covering the tableau rests on an elaborately carved and gilded base with three sections. The lower section is composed of a frieze of shells containing carved foliage and flowers. The middle section is made up of interlocking bands of cusps and curves completely pierced and gilded. The narrow upper section, which consists of a series of small leaves, hold the glass dome in place.
-Martin I. Tinio, Jr