Sunday, November 8, 2015

11/9/15 Report - Dug Silver Christ Figure. Sacred Heart Confraternities In Colonial Potosi.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Silver Christ Pendant Showing Sacred Heart
Find and photo by Larry.

Laura Strolia found some great new information conerning the heart-shaped cobs. Here is what she said.
In regards to the later produced heart cobs (1690-1750), I believe there is an angle to this mystery that has been overlooked.
Timothy Terrance O’Donnell wrote in his book, Heart of the Redeemer, pp. 147-148, “Between 1690 and 1740 (the nadir of the “new” devotion) Rome showed her warm approval by granting briefs which established over 700 Sacred Heart confraternities. The Jesuits, inspired by Fr. Galliffet’s zeal and passionate love for the Heart of Jesus, took the lead in promoting these confraternities.”
The Jesuits happened to be all over the world and the Spanish King was a consistent supporter of religious confraternities.  It was customary for members to wear special accessories, such as a certain badge or belt. Wearing a heart cob would have been a way to show which confraternity one belonged to, and at the same time, he would have been promoting this symbol of devotion.
In Early Modern Confraternities in Europe and the Americas, p. 190, authors Christopher F. Black and Pamela Gravestock said this: “Much more than other regions in the Viceroyalty of Peru, confraternities proliferated in Potosí as an indication of the wealth and religious piety of its residents.”
Perhaps the answer to these heart cobs will be in the Archivo Histórico of Potosí, in documents concerning the last wills and testaments of Potosí confraternity members.
Thanks Laura!  

Notice in particular that Black and Gravestock say that the Sacred Heart confraternities proliferated in Potosi, which is where the heart-shaped cobs that we've been talking about were minted.

Laura mentions that it was customary for members to wear special accessories, such as a badge or belt.  Could the heart-shaped cobs have been used as such a badge to show membership and wealth and piety, as Black and Gravestock suggest.   That seems like a good possibility to me.  

It looks like we are getting closer to an answer.  At least I am learning a lot in the process.


Larry dug the Christ figure shown at the top of the post a few years ago in South Florida.  Note the heart on the figure.

Thanks for the picture Larry.


The other day I talked about old copper objects such as copper kettles.  I found a great web site that sells historic reproductions of colonial brass and copper cookware, kettles, flasks and other things.  It is a good site to look if you want to see what such items looked like and how they were made.  

One Example of The Historic Reproductions 
Shown On The Goose Bay Workshop Web Site.
Here is the link if you want to check it out.


Happy hunting,