AN INDIAN-PORTUGUESE WOOD AND IVORY SCULPTURE OF THE MADONNA SEATED ON A THRONE, GIVING JESUS READING LESSONS
India, Goa, second half 18th century
Carved as Madonna seated on a Rococo throne with red back splat, Madonna and the Child in rich polychrome and gilt-wood dress, the faces and hands in painted ivory, on curved base.
H. 35 x W. 22.5 x D. 14.5 cm
The 18th century corresponds to the establishment by the Jesuits of a real industry of religious imagery mainly in ivory, not only in Goa but also in the Moghal Indian Empire. Images of the Virgin are by far the most produced, reflecting the Marian worship so well developed in Portugal. Goan Virgins stand out due to their oval-shaped inexpressive faces, looking rather absent. Not so in the presen sculpture where the Virgin is lovingly attentive while learning Jesus how to read. Unlike most ivory ones from Goa which usually have long hair falling over their backs, the present carved wooden one has her hair covered like in most European examples. The dramatic movement of the clothing of Mother and Child is common in the late 18th century Goan wooden sculptures and the Jesus child often looks more like a girl than a boy. Wood sculptures from Goa usually have their faces and hands made of ivory.