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Biography of a Mexican CrucifixLived Religion and Local Faith from the Conquest to the Present$
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Jennifer Scheper Hughes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367065

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367065.001.0001

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The Cristo Comes to Life

The Cristo Comes to Life

Lived Religion in Colonial Mexico City

(p.83) 4 The Cristo Comes to Life
Biography of a Mexican Crucifix

Jennifer Scheper Hughes

Oxford University Press

In 1583 the Augustinian order moved the Cristo Aparecido to Mexico City where the image quickly became part of the religious life of urban, baroque Mexico. The belief among the friars and indigenous Christians of Mexico City was that the Cristo Aparecido demonstrated signs of animate life and the image became among the most celebrated sacred images in New Spain. The fame of the image led to an Inquisition hearing that scrutinized the Cristo’s origins. Over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in Mexico City the image was not only a baroque adornment, an object of beauty, but also functioned as a “shield of arms,” protecting the poor residents of Mexico City from repeated waves of epidemic disease.

Keywords:   New Spain, Mexico City, Inquisition, baroque art, epidemic disease, Virgin of Guadalupe, religious ritual, relics, miracles, illness and healing

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