Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Threads of Devotion - The Wardrobe of La Conquistadora

Guests of The Madeleine Inn Bed & Breakfast are encouraged to visit the first-ever museum exhibition of the garments, jewelry and crowns made for La Conquistadora, the oldest representation of the Virgin Mary in the United States.  The exhibit opened at The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in tandem with Santa Fe's 400th year anniversary, and gives insight to the city's rich culture, history and religious beliefs.  I recommend a tour with a docent so as to gain a deeper understanding of the stories behind this lavish display.

 The statue, believed to have been carried during The Crusades, first arrived in Santa Fe in 1626, on an ox-drawn wagon from Mexico.  She remained in Santa Fe until the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, when she was rescued by fleeing Spanish colonists.  She was carried back to Santa Fe in 1692 by Don Diego DeVargas during the reconquist.  DeVargas credited La Conquistadora for the relatively bloodless victory and decreed that she be honored every year in what became La Fiesta de Santa Fe, when she leads a processional around the Plaza. 

At this time they began following the custom of dressing sacred images with the silks, velvets, orante capes and jeweled crowns worn by Spanish royalty.  La Conquistadora and her vast wardrobe of over 200 garments are housed in the Santa Fe’s Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.  Her clothing is changed once a month, except during the nine days the novena, when her clothing is changed daily. Until now, her wardrobe has been hidden from public view, so this is a momentous event.  The exhibit, Threads of Devotion, can be seen now through December 31, 2010.  This is a rare opportunity to see a real piece of Santa Fe history!

Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
750 Camino Lejo (on Museum Hill)

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