Collections: Decorative Arts: Death Cart

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    Death Cart

    This sculpture is a smaller version of the death carts that were pulled by penitent brothers during Holy Week processions of the Los Hermanos Penitentes Society. Public processions reenacted the sorrow and suffering of Christ’s final days, with some penitent brothers practicing self-flagellation with whips and dragging large, heavy crosses and death carts. Here the female Angel of Death, Doña Sebastiana, serves as a reminder of human mortality and the importance of preparing for a good death through prayer and virtuous deeds.

    Esta escultura es una versión más pequeña de las carretas de la muerte llevadas por los hermanos penitentes durante las procesiones de Semana Santa de la Sociedad de los Hermanos Penitentes. Procesiones públicas revivían la tristeza y el sufrimiento de los últimos días de Cristo, con algunos de los penitentes practicando autoflagelación con látigos, y arrastrando enormes y pesadas cruces, y carretas de la muerte. Aquí el ángel femenino de la Muerte, Doña Sebastiana, sirve como recordatorio de la mortalidad humana y de la importancia de prepararse para una buena muerte a través de plegarias y actos virtuosos.

    • Artist: Los Hermanos Penitentes Society
    • Medium: Wood, hide, hair, pigment
    • Dates: 1890-1910
    • Dimensions: 25 1/4 x 14 x 26 1/2 in. (64.1 x 35.6 x 67.3 cm)  (show scale)
    • Inscriptions: "M922" is written in ink near the right hip socket and at the base of the cart handle. This number may be a Millicent Rogers Musuem number [N. Rosoff to confirm, 6/22/12].
    • Collections:Decorative Arts
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 1997.70
    • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Los Hermanos Penitentes Society. Death Cart, 1890-1910. Wood, hide, hair, pigment, 25 1/4 x 14 x 26 1/2 in. (64.1 x 35.6 x 67.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection, 1997.70. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 1997.70_transp5516.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Catalogue Description: Carved wood skeleton of the female angle of death Dona Sebastiana with human hair and covered with gesso. The figure holds a bow and arrow in her hands and sits in a two wheeled cart made of cottonwood sticks lashed together with hide. A wooden axe sits inside the cart. Condition: good.
    • Record Completeness: Good (70%)
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