February 11, 2014
This wooden carving from Canindé, Brazil, is known as an ex-voto
or milagre (Portuguese). Canindé is an important pilgrimage site, particularly during the feast of St. Francis. In areas with such strong traditions of petitioning God or saints for relief from troubles, religious pilgrims offer these objects in gratitude for their answered prayers, often for recovery from an illness or injury. Ex-votos can take the form of paintings or sculptures made from a variety of materials including wood, cloth, or wax. They often represent parts of the body that have been healed. The petitioner in this case may have recovered from a heart attack or other cardiac ailment. The MOA has more than 275 votive sculptures from Brazil in the permanent collection.