Friday, October 25, 2013

169. The Bangkal Picker II: MORE THRIFT SHOP SANTOS

Just a few days after I went home from Bangkal with a cache of folk santos, the same seller called me up to say that she has some fresh stocks that I may like. She even sent me, by phone, photos of a pair of folksy-looking but solidly made santos. I thought they were quite interesting, so during my Monday lunchbreak,  I taxied to her shop to look at the pair of santos she was offering.

They turned out to be an appealing pair, almost of the same size, and obviously carved by the same artist. They are even painted the same way, and the colors have retained their vividness all these years. Though done by one artist, they are carved from different wood.

The first santo, a Sta. Maria, is the taller and heftier santo, about 12 inches tall. She is made of santol wood, and the body is almost cylindrical in shape, following the contour of a straight santol branch or small trunk. The cape and tunic are fancifully painted with trefoil flowers growing from a leafy vine.The naive carving of her features betrays the folksy character of this image. Nailed on her head is a rusted tin crown, with some missing tin parts.

San Vicente is equally interesting because even though he is smaller, he has more details--from the tin halo to his pair of tin wings (amazing how his wings have survived without being detached from his body!). he has extremely short arms, which add to his appeal, and is painted in almost the same way as the Virgin, with more of the leafy patterns on his vestment, rather than the flowers.

He could very well be the Virgin's twin, judging from San Vicente's facial carving--with a narrow head, long nose and a cheeky face.Of course, I bought the pair for a very reasonable price, much lower that one would have paid for in a regular antique shop.

But I was in for more surprises, as when I went to the larger Bangkal warehouse and started poking my nose around, I found more folk santos--a San Pedro and another unidentified female santa. Their coloration was much more vibrant, and despite San Pedro's missing key and the snta's lost hands, they were in great shape!

San Pedro was made of lighter wood, and it only took a bit of waxing to bring out its excellent features. I replaced the key with an antique skeleton key that I've had for years.

The second santa-- a very hefty piece-- stumped me as at first glance, it looked like a generic Sta. Maria, but the longer I looked at it, the more it resembled Sta. Teresita de Nino Jesus.She wears what looks like a nun's habit, and the floral patterns on her dress are consistent with the Carmelite saint's flower attributes. So, for now, she  is St,.Therese of the Child Jesus to me.

These santos turned out to be even much more affordable, so I brought them home with me too--thrift shop santos that have now become the latest treasures in my collection.

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