Iconography of a folk saint. A case study from Mexico
The bust of Jesús Malverde, the sanctified bandit from Mexico, is in many ways special due to his peculiar looks, considering traditional saintly figures. He is most often portrayed as a dark-haired man in a cowboy shirt, with bushy eyebrows and a mustache, and resembles in many ways other contemporary men from Sinaloa, his native state in northwestern Mexico. This paper will focus on the image of the folk saint, and how it has developed in the past years, especially after Malverde became the patron saint of drug smugglers. The original bust of Jesús Malverde, which is located in his chapel in Culiacán, Sinaloa, shows him as a sorrowful figure. However, many replicas have been made of the original. The saint ́s image has gone through several transformations and has ended as a “kitsch” figure in modern globalized culture. The paper will, moreover, examine how the saint has entered the sphere of popular culture making him visible now in the most unexpected places, both sacred and profane.
Locality and (inter)nationality: Translations and the Medieval Saint.
A saint‘s cult usually begins with his/her translatio. In Christian culture, translatio means exhuming and moving of holy relics or holy objects from one locality to another. During the Middle Ages, three Icelandic saints were venerated. The lives of the Icelandic born saints were first written in Latin and then translated. Apart from remnants of the vita of St Þorlákr, the Latin texts are now lost. We do not know how closely the preserved Icelandic texts resemble their Latin originals, if the translations were word for word or free adaptions. We usually define Þorláks saga and Jóns saga, and the hagiographic Guðmundar sögur as Icelandic texts but they are basically translations. The texts include translated passages and use translations as models. Several known Icelandic hagiographers were also translators. In the lives of the Icelandic saints, we find historical persons, translated into the traditional language of hagiography, and a universal model translated into the Icelandic language and scenery. The Icelandic hagiographers are no less interested in the universaliy than locality. Their purpose to show that they were universal, and consequently real saints.