Wooden sculptures and relief paintings of saints such as St. Francis, the Blessed Virgin, and Apostles of Christ have for centuries been objects of devotion and worship in the Southwest Catholic culture. This centuries-old heritage is celebrated here through photographs, essay, and literary quotes that beautifully bring the devotion into focus.
Crafting saints has always been seen as a high calling. These santeros and santeras (saint makers) created santos―images of saints, Christ, the Trinity, and Holy Family―painting them on wooden panels called retablos. They carved and painted wooden sculptures called bultos. And if they built a home chapel, they carved and painted an altar screen, or altar retablo, called a reredos, that was made up of smaller retablos and sometimes adorned with bultos.