Cántico a Santiago de las Mujeres by Osiris Delgado Mercado

Cánticos a Santiago de las Mujeres (1966) by Osiris Delgado MercadoInstituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña

The devotion towards Santiago Apóstol, also known as Saint James the Greater, arrived in Puerto Rico along with the Spanish colonization of the Island.

In Loíza, Santiago Apóstol’s image is represented in three ways, each one associated with a or deemed as the patron of a distinctive group: men, women and children. Each one of these versions is honored on a different day during the annual festival held in the Saint’s honor.

Through the window Delgado has incorporated into the composition, we catch a glimpse of the Río Grande de Loíza, the Island’s largest river by volume. Legend has it that a long time ago this river flooded. In the face of danger, the people of Loiza took the image of Santiago Apóstol in a procession, clamoring for a miracle. Shortly after this show of devotion the river returned to its course.

The young girl in the artwork is shown playing a traditional string instrument called the tiple.

The tiple dates back to the 18th century and is the smallest of Puerto Rican string instruments. It is also heavily associated with the jibaro.

The horseshoe is one of the oldest talismans known in the Western World. It is placed face down for good luck or face up for protection.

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