The Black Christ in Latin America and the Philippines: An Interpretation

Fernando N. Zialcita Ph.D.
Department of Sociolology and Anthropology
Ateneo de Manila University

Nazareno Jan 9

For centuries, images of Christ and His Mother have been represented as black on Catholic altars. The most famous example in the Philippines is the Jesús Nazareno of Quiapo.  Is this color merely the result of smoke from candles? The paper gives an overview of the meaning of blackness in Medieval Europe and in 17th century Spanish America based on research done by anthropologists and historians.  It then discusses the results of interviews with men and women today regarding the significance of blackness in a sacred image.

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