A tableau of religious icons beneath the apartment's foyer wall of crosses, milagros and prayer ornaments. The pewter tulip tray at right is by Serge Nekrassoff (1895-1985), the Russian-American metalsmith. It serves as a catch-all for mail. A 19th-century French church altarpiece, stitched in gold threads is beneath the trays.
The tray at left with angels at either end is Mexican silver, found in Sevilla, Spain. The tray contains various glass and hammered-silver candleholders, as well as tin milagros from Santa Fe; a 19th-century French silver and gold religious icon; a 19th-century cobalt glass and silver Spanish communion chalice, found in Sevilla and a Spanish crucifix icon of tin and brass, the latter found at the secret brocante in Passy, Paris. The tray also holds an antique French ivory-and-silver rosary and a modern aqua-beaded and silver Spanish rosary from a convent in Sevilla.
A white folk art cross from Guatemala, also found in France is flanked by two silver hearts linked by a chain. One of the hearts still holds a handwritten prayer request. The hearts are from a former convent in Marseilles, France. The wooden monk figure is from a former French monastery. The silver cross draped around his neck was a gift. The framed drawing of a hand holding a pen dripping blood was a gift from Syrian opposition political cartoonist and publisher Ali Ferzat, with an inscription in Arabic.
No, I am not Catholic! As a child, I went to a Baptist church; when I was nine, my mother took us to a Presbyterian church, of which I am still a member. But I am drawn to religious icons and symbols from world religions. One of the things I like about Santa Fe (which of course means Holy Faith) is the little prayer niches or shrines in so many beautiful old adobe houses. Some of these homes even have their own chapels. Two of my favourite books about collecting religious icons are Mary Emmerling's Art of the Cross and Laura Cerwinske's In a Spiritual Style.
P.S. Speaking of religion, John McCain has made a bizarre choice in embracing the endorsement of Rev. John Hagee of Texas. Hagee advocates wars based on Biblical mandates; rants against the Catholic Church, as well as Islam and claims that Hurricane Katrina "was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans." Really, one has to wonder about McCain's judgment in aligning himself with such an extremist.