Wednesday, September 28, 2011


A selection of century-old Virgins carved with massive, bell-shaped bodies typical of those made in the province of Bohol, Philippines. Mostly primitive in style, the santos came in many varieties--all-wood or with small ivory heads and hands, polychromed--but all with the trademark bell-shaped bodies often carved from dense, heavy wood.

INMACULADA CONCEPCION. Ivory head and hands (now missing), polychromed, with carved base featuring cherubs. The santo used to wear a wig.

INMACULADA CONCEPCION. Ivory head Virgin with beautifully carved vestments trimmed with relief carvings to simulate drapes, decorated hems and sleeves. Intricate floraln patterns are painted on the body. Low relief angel carvings decorate the base.
VIRGEN Y NINO JESUS. A stocky Madonna and Child, craved in the round and borne aloft by a bevy of angels.
INMACULADA CONCEPCION. A primitive representation of the Immaculate Conception with chubby cheeks and heavy, sloping shoulders on a horned base.
A TRIO OF BELL-SHAPED VIRGINS. Primitively carved from heavy wood, set with bone and ivory heads. The three are similarly carved with praying hands, gently spreading bell bodies with bases decorated with low-relief winged angel heads. The polychromed bodies and bases are carved from one piece of wood.

(Photos from The Catholic Digest, c. 1964)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Alex,

    I' thinking of publishing a book on Bell shaped Santos with ivory or bone heads. Could you perhaps assist me in getting in touch with owners and collectors of such Santos so I can document them and include them in my book? Please contact Norman at 0917 8141607 for any info. Thank you.