Tuesday, May 23, 2017

294. VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE: From an Image on a Tilma to a Sculpted Santa

VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE, from the workshop of renown
Kapampangan carver, Nick Lugue, 2002

The apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to a Catholic convert, Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian of Mexico, began in Tepeyac Hill in 1531. There, the 57-year old Juan was told by the Lady to inform the Bishop what he has seen.  Juan Diego succeeded only in talking to the Bishop on his second visit; in turn, the Bishop advised the native to ask the Lady for a sign to prove that she was indeed Mary. In Her next apparition.the Lady asked him to gather roses growing on top of Tepeyac Hill, which Juan Diego collected and wrapped in his tilma, a cape made of cactus fiber.

After the Lady arranged the roses, she sent back Juan Diego to the Bishop. Appearing before the religious leader, Juan Diego let fall of the roses wrapped with the tilma. But it was not the blooms that stunned the Bishop, for there,impressed on the tilma, was the picture of the Blessed Mother—just as the native described Her.

Upon his return to the village, Juan Diego was surprised to find a sick uncle cured, who told him of his meeting with a young woman bathed in soft light. This Lady told him She had sent his nephew to see the Bishop with a picture of herself.  She then told Juan Diego’s uncle that she and the image be called “Sta. Maria de Guadalupe”. It was clear that She was one and the same woman--the Blessed Virgin--seen by both Juan and his uncle, the same one whose likeness was now on the tilma.

Thus began the spread of the worldwide devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe. The devotion is centered on the tilma with the miraculous imprint of the Virgin’s image that shows no sign of being painted or sketched. It is enshrined in the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which has become the most popular religious pilgrimage site in the Western Hemisphere.

For centuries, attempts have been made to replicate the image sculpturally—and it has always been a challenge to represent the image tri-dimensionally, as it has quite a complex iconography.

The Lady stands upon a crescent moon, in reference to the woman of Rev. 12:1 who has symbolically the "moon under her feet",  a symbol of her perpetual purity. An angel supports her,  a testament to her royalty. The Lady’s mantle is blue-green or turquoise, the color of eternity and immortality. The limbus or gold border of her mantle is another sign of nobility. The stars on her mantle are indicative of her supernatural character and her personage as  the Queen of Heaven. They are the pre-dawn stars of the winter solstice that appeared on the morning of 12 December 1531.

The bow, tied high around her waist, is a  symbol of new life. Its  position and the slight swelling of the abdomen indicates that the the Lady is infanticipating,  almost ready to give birth, which would further confirm her identification with the woman of Rev. 12 who is about to deliver her child. The whole figure is surrounded by a strange light, a mandorla, with scalloped edges.This representation, crafted by award-winning religious sculptor Nick Lugue of San Vicente Apalit, was commissioned by a patron from Batangas, who donated the 4-foot image to a local church where She now reposes.

Picture of the Guadalupe Virgin:http://www.patheos.com/blogs/holyrover/2017/05/03/with-the-virgin-of-guadalupe-in-mexico-city/
Pictures from Don Sevilla III, Nick Lugue

No comments:

Post a Comment