Thursday, April 7, 2016

246. Rare Folk Santo Tableau: THE MOCKING OF JESUS

BURLANDOSE DE JESUS. A folk santo grouping in a primitive
urna, depicting the mocking of Jesus by Roman soldiers.
Pamintuan Mansion, Angeles City, Pampanga.

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Religious tableaus depicting anything from Biblical scenes (the Nativity, the Crucifixion)  to various saintly groupings (e.g. Our Lady of Carmel, St. James Fighting the Moors, Salvacion) are familiar sights to antique dealers and santo collectors. Folk representations of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) commonly abound, often encased in a colorful folk altar. The same goes true for Calvario tableaus  that show Jesus on the cross, surrounded by Mary, Magdalene and St. John.

However, in the restored ancestral Pamintuan residence of Angeles City can be found a very rare and seldom seen folk tableau, representing the Mocking of Jesus Christ. This event, which Jesus had predicted, happened several times--after his trial and before his crucifixion according to the gospels of the New Testament.

The mocking of Christ took place thrice: immediately following his trial by the Sanhedrin, after his condemnation by Pilate, and when he was on the cross. The first instance was done by chief priests, temple guards and other elders.

The second instance occurred after his appearance before Pilate, where, upon his condemnation, was  was flogged and mocked by Roman soldiers. They clothed him with a purple or scarlet robe. crowned with thorns and made to hold a staff as his scepter. This wooden tableau seems to depict Jesus' second mocking by the Pilate's Roman centurions who knelt before him and said , "Hail, King of the Jews".

Curiously, the seated blank-faced Jesus figure is clean-shaven. Could this figure represent Pilate? Or was it just a way to differentiate Jesus from his bearded and moustachioed antagonists? A wire on top of his head that once held a halo--indicates with certainty that this is indeed, Jesus. One bemoustached official is either in the act of handing him his reed scepter or about to beat him up with a staff.

Still another is seen pointing his finger up. Two or three centurions stand at attention around Jesus, dressed in their pointed hats, breeches and boots. All the figures--no more than 7 inches high-- are carved from softwood in the naif style, with their separately-carved limbs wired to their bodies. Their faces are painted and they are dressed in fabric trimmed with lace and gold thread.

The ensemble is housed in a spectacularly carved, glass fronted  urna with 4 Solomonic columns, cutwork side flanges, and a roof with simulated rococo carvings. It stands on carved feet that are typical of Ilocos folk altars.

Christians see Jesus' suffering is redemptive, hence, they see the mockery that Jesus went through as being borne and endured on their behalf. Capturing this moment in a carved devotional piece must have been a challenge to the anonymous santero who wrought this exuberantly-crafted masterpiece. Which explains why it remains the first and only Mocking of Christ tableau I have seen thus far,

The rare Mocking of Jesus folk tableau can be viewed at the Pamintuan Mansion on Sto. Entierro St., located at the heritage district of Angeles City. The ancestral residence has been converted into a Museum of Social History. Opens daily 8:00 am-5 pm, except Mondays. Entrance is free.


  1. Sir this is a scene wherein Saint Stephen the Deacon and 1st martyr is being investigated prior his stoning to death.

    1. Prior to his death by stoning.

    2. But are there such depictions of the scene in art which could have been the basis of this Philippine-made tableau? San Esteban is not very familiar to most Filipinos, much less this episode in his life.

    3. It is very familiar IL ilocos sur. He is our patron saint of our town. San Esteban Ilocos Sur sir.

    4. There is also a town in Ilocos Norte that he is the patron saint.i also noticed the urna is from Ilocos.😉