Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Cigar Box" Crucifix

Below is a remarkable crucifix called the "Cigar Box" Crucifix. It dates from somewhere between the 1880s and 1920s, and the artist is unidentified. It is found at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. It is approximately 20 3/8" high and 10 5/8" wide. The "Cigar Box" Crucifix is made from cigar boxes and is an example of "Tramp" art. It is an example of so-called "Crown of Thorns Construction," which is explained below.

According to the Smithsonian website:
"Trampart" was created from old cigar boxes by tradesmen at the turn of the twentieth century. Craftsmen chip-carved the edges of pieces of wood and layered them together to create furniture, sculptures, and religious objects. The Crown of Thorns Construction (see 1998.84.52) is named because of the interlocking construction technique, which was supposed to represent Jesus’s crown when he was crucified (Helaine Fendelman, Tramp Art, 1975). These objects were not made by vagrants, but by traveling printers, carpenters, and cigar makers who "tramped" from city to city advertising their skills (Lynda Hartigan, Made with Passion, 1990).

"Cigar Box" Crucifix

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