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What is a Santo Cage Doll?
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WHAT IS A "SANTO CAGE DOLL" ?


The best translation I found for "cap i pota" is "santo cage doll".  The santo's cage dolls pertain to the so called "popular religious art". This artistic current includes all the different expressions of art that, inspired in the religious subject, are created in a spontaneous way without being conditioned to any academic rule.

Carried in procession, or used at home for devotional purposes, these images are an alive remember of the culture and the traditions of a determined period.                                   

The visible parts of these images as the head, hands and feet, are usually carved in wood. The arms and forearms are joined to the body by wires and the legs are attached to the skirt with nails. Head, hands and feet are finally covered with a fine layer of stucco delicately poly-chromed, and the body, is painted with pigments. The trunk is very stylized and the waist is narrow and low.

In some images previous to the XIX century, shoulders, elbows, knees and hands, are articulated.  This allowed to give them the position desired and made easy the movements to dress them.

With the exception of the face, the physical attributes of sexual character are not shown.   In front of a nude image we cannot appreciate evidences that make different the nude body of a virgin, from the nude body of a saint.  

Blue pigments are the most used to paint bodies. However, we also can find anatomies painted in other colours like pink, brown, ocher and sienna...

Under the majesty of silk dresses, crowns, symbols,  and other attributes made of gold or  silver, these images hide a primitive, coarse,  and disproportionate skeleton of wood,  which is simply irresistible.

The structure of wood is underwear-ed with rustic fabrics covered with dresses, jewels,  and the attributes of the represented saint.   Dresses are usually made of silk, delicately adorned, and easy to change according to the occasion.

As far as types and sizes there are not fixed rules.   We can find them small medium and large sized; static or articulated; standing, sitting or kneeling...

The wood pedestals on those who rest, are usually painted or covered with golden bread.   The shapes might be square, round, hexagonal, octagonal, etc.  The most elaborated pedestals are those of the "Immaculate's ", which incorporate the symbols and attributes of this Virgin as the Globe, the Waxing Moon, and the Serpent.

These images were always exhibited dressed and protected by and urn of crystal or inside a wood chapel with crystal door.