We have several really fine old carved wood religious figures on offer this week, and this one is a carving of either a Pope or Cardinal, I'm unsure which (not being Catholic). The hands are gone, a bit of wear and loss to the face, but the figure is superb for display as he is. Either hardened wax or perhaps a thin gesso-like surface treatment over hand carved wood, we see some evidence of old wood worm infestation that has long since become inactive, but does tell us the core is all solid wood (and that it's from France - they had such a wood worm problem, didn't they!). The surface has a gilded finish that has dulled a bit with age. The figure has been later mounted for modern display on a squared wooden plinth that has been covered with an old written document, and is really quite appealing. The plinth is neither original nor is it antique, however. Just a display stand that is post-mounted on underside (visible in our photos). The carved figure dates as early as late 1600s, but is likeliest to be 1700s. Fabulous old treasure!
Very good for age and type, you see his hands are both missing (rather common in these very old carved Catholic Church figures) and his face has lost some detail over time. The carving is elegantly done as to his robe, hat, beard and you can tell it is a fine quality work of carver's art. Wooden sculpture does have some very old wood worm holes showing, no active infestation at all, and likely none for far more than 100 years. We think he is 1700s, though we bought it as a c.1600s figure. More likely 1700s, I think. Still, I could certainly be wrong and it could be much earlier. Plinth is covered wood, an old handwritten document - not original and is only decorative, not to be considered as anything but a display stand. It will stay with the figure. Measurements on photos, but he is 10.5" tall without his plinth.
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RARE Antique Carved Wood, Wax & Polychrome, Gilding - Pope or Cardinal
$837 $1,195 SALE