|THE SLEEPING CHRIST CHILD, personal collection|
The image of the sleeping Jesus in sacred art is drawn from His birth in Bethlehem, where He was born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. It was St. Francis of Assisi, of course, who perpetualized that depiction when he put up a manger in a church.
|NINO DORMIDO, from the Francisco Vecin Collection|
|NINO DORMIDO, on a repurposed doll's toy bed.|
The sleeping Christ Child has been the subject of many artists through the centuries, often represented naked, consistently shown with eyes closed or half-closed, with charming poses—tiny finger in His mouth or pointing to His head, a Hand raised in blessing, cheek resting on a palm, with straight, bent and crossed legs. In painting and sculpture art, the sleeping baby is shown in different settings---lying on a manger, on a pastoral landscape, on a flaming heart, or adored by the Blessed Mother,
|NINO DORMIDO, note the unusual crossed legs.|
|The hole on the back was where a stick was placed to|
support the Nino Dormido while painting.
|NINO DORMIDO, Provenance: Bohol|
As equally appealing are the locally-carved wooden Niño Dormidos. Though not as expensive as ivories, these antique wooden figures of the Christ Child are much rarer to find, as the traditional Sto. Niño had a more popular following.
|The Nino Dormido has its original (but flaking) encarna|
This wooden Niño Dormido is one such fine example of religious folk art. It comes from the Francisco Vecin Collection, who owns many of these miniature wooden examples. It is carved from heavy wood, just a little over 7 inches, and is Bohol-made, with its original (now flaking) encarna. I acquired this from him sometime in 2006, when I was still working in Makati, and I was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Vecin let it go.
|A CLOSE UP VIEW, reveals open glass eyes.|
This Niño Dormido is outstanding in every respect, classically carved with baby features, curly locks, and a plumpish body. Though small, his thick droopy eyelids are outfitted with glass eyes, making him look more awake than sleepy. This Dormido is one of those rarer versions that show the Baby with crossed legs, as if to foreshadow his Crucifixion.
I decided to keep this Niño Dormido in its “as found” condition, and tried to look for an appropriate bed for it. For years, it laid on a vintage 4-poster toy wooden bed that was too short for him, and encased in an urna that I had asked a furniture shop to make, patterned after an old one.
|The Nino sleeps on a piece of antique European lace,|
It was only lately that I found another vintage toy bed of the right size ( but with more modern features, alas!). I covered the bed up up with antique laces, and made a flat pillow, and propped it on a new peaña that I no longer use—so that will do for the moment. The final touch is the addition of a spray of wired “lagang” flowers, hoping that it will add to the antique look that I wanted to recreate.
|The Sleeping Christ Child is represented in many art forms.|
It may not be authentic, but at least this Niño Dormido from Bohol has a new and better home. In the future, I will probably have a new “resting place” made, although I have not figured out if it’s going to be a daybed, a manger, a 4-poster (definitely, not a sofa!).
|The Nino's bed rests on a vintage gilded peana,|
And what do you think of the idea of having a silver cap and a belt? Well, let me see.. I will sleep over it!.