Mexico's Image of Guadalupe is a depiction of the Virgin Mary - according to a pious legend - she imprinted on the cloak of an Aztec convert named Juan Díego.
Mexico’s Image of Guadalupe is a depiction of the Virgin Mary that – according to a pious legend – she imprinted on the cloak of an Aztec convert named Juan Díego in 1531. (Díego was canonized a saint in 2002, even though his actual existence is doubted by several Catholic scholars.)
Venerated for centuries as being of miraculous origin, the Image is actually a work of art. In an investigation in 1556, it was reported to have been “painted yesteryear by an Indian,” specifically “the Indian painter Marcos” (i.e., Marcos Cipac). The picture shows definite evidence of painting, and an art restoration expert, José Sol Rosales, using a stereomicroscope, verified it was painted in a water-base paint over a coat of white primer (calcium sulfate). (See Joe Nickell, “Mythical Mexico,” Skeptical Inquirer, July/August 2004, pp. 11-12.)
Pictured are four images of the Lady of Guadalupe. From left to right:
The first is a brochure about the Lady of Guadalupe and the miracles that reportedly happened after she appeared. The pamphlet is about 6 inches tall and about 3 ¾ inches across.
The second is a small figurine of molded plastic with the aura molded separately and glued on. Colored with paint and glitter, it measures only about 4 ¾ inches tall and about 1 ½ inches across at its base (which contains a magnet).
The third image is a protection sachet that has the image of Guadalupe on the front. The sachet is made of felt material folded into a bag and contains various seeds of different colors and shapes and also a small loadstone. A loadstone (also spelled lodestone) is a strongly magnetic variety of the mineral magnetite. Protection sachets are normally used to invoke magical powers, as from a guardian spirit, in this case the image of Guadalupe because it is believed to be a miracle image. Joe Nickell purchased the sachet in Mexico and is about 2 ½ inches tall and 1 ¾ inches across at its base.
The final image is a folder and, inside, it speaks about the Hemisphere and collections for the Church in Latin America. On the back there is a prayer for the Hemisphere. The folder is about 5 ½ inches tall and 3 ½ inches across.