Historical setting: 6th Century C.E. Somewhere in the Pyrenees
We asked the one who markets stone carvings what artist created this sculpture of the baby Jesus and his mother.
Antton explains, “We were at the quarry we use to cut the stone for this winter’s work when we discovered another man using our source. We thought we had our own place. But there were three of us and only one of him and he was of a diminutive stature, so we could’ve bruised him and sent him on his way but of course, I have a better sense for marketing than that and I happen to know raw stone is of no value to anyone but a sculptor. So I offered to allow him to use our stone pit if I could sell his works for a slight profit. We made a deal to trade stone for statue. The next time he arrived at our quarry he had this statue in his oxcart.”
“So who is it who carved this?”
“Maybe you would want to be asking what the price of this is. Christians seem to cling to poverty over wealth. So I think you will find I can sell it to you at a very low price and still glean my profit.”
Now it seems Nic is negotiating for this thing he doesn’t even like.
“Lazarus and I’ve looked upon this woman and her infant with my Christian eyes which tend to see things in ways different from Antton. So here we find a strange paradox, the very face of empathetic poverty from a gospel story we know well, here for sale amid all these pagan idols purposed for marketing hollow wishes and empty dreams of wealth and prosperity. I fear this lady is not a work that should be sold for gold or silver, but obviously she was created as a sacrificial gift by an artist whose work was an act of worship celebrating the Creator. I believe this should be gifted, and not sold for coin.”
The seller of statues named a price anyway. Nic baulked. I suggested we move the mother and child away from the clutter of the other statuary so that Nic and I could see it more clearly for what it is.
She is still in the wood base used for moving statuary and it isn’t hard for two men to carry her into the adjacent ox shed so that we can better see her in simplicity. And I think Nic will understand my affinity for this work as it is in a proper setting.
But of course, the problem remains, what would two traveling Christians do with a statue?
(Continues tomorrow – On Christmas Eve)