The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception

Date: 18th century

Culture: Hispano-Philippine

Medium: Ivory, partly gilded and polychromed; halo: silver; eyes: glass

Dimensions: Height: 10 in. (25.4 cm)

Classification: Sculpture-Miniature

Credit Line: Gift of Loretta Hines Howard, 1964

Accession Number: 64.164.243a, b


The pose indicates the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. A fuller rendering of the type would feature a crescent moon beneath her feet, following the iconography drawn from Revelation. The belief was embraced with particular enthusiasm in Spain and her colonial empire. An enormous number of ivory images of the Virgin were produced in the Philippines and many, like this example, show her robe distinctively tucked in back. The back of her head and hair were carved separately to permit the insertion of glass eyes, a realistic touch found in much Spanish devotional sculpture.