Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

7/1/2011 - 6/30/2012

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

Mexican Votive Painting and the Miracle of Everyday Life

FAIN: FB-55355-11

Frank Graziano
Connecticut College (New London, CT 06320-4125)

A fellowship is requested for the research and writing of a book-length study on painted Mexican votive offerings (known as retablos) and the cultural context in which they are commissioned, produced, offered, displayed, and viewed. The focus is on retablos as extraordinary works of folk art; as components of a complex of beliefs, rituals, and material culture that constitute Mexican expressions of popular Catholicism; as archives of social history; and as indices of a belief system that is conducive to miraculous intercession in everyday life.

Associated Products

Miraculous Images and Votive Offerings in Mexico (Book)
Title: Miraculous Images and Votive Offerings in Mexico
Author: Frank Graziano
Abstract: Mexican statues and paintings like the Virgen de Guadalupe and the Señor de Chalma are endowed with sacred presence and the power to perform miracles. Millions of devotees visit their shrines to request miracles for health, employment, children, and countless everyday matters. When miracles are granted, devotees reciprocate with votive offerings. Collages, photographs, documents, texts, milagritos, hair and braids, clothing, retablos, and various representative objects cover walls at many shrines. Miraculous Images and Votive Offerings in Mexico explores such petitionary devotion in depth through extensive fieldwork supported by research in a vast body of interdisciplinary scholarship. The study's principal themes include sacred power and human agency, reification, projective animation, faith as a cognitive filter, sacred power transfer, social and narrative construction, positive framing, collaborative and deferred control, vows (juramentos), and miracle attribution. The book is written in two alternating voices, one interpretive to provide an understanding of miracles, miraculous images, and votive offerings, and the other narrative to illustrate the interpretive chapters and to bring the reader closer to experiences at the shrines. Among the many miraculous images treated in the book are the Cristo Negro de Otatitlán, Niño del Cacahuatito, Señor de Chalma, Señor de la Misericordia (Tepatitlán), Señor del Rayo, Señor de las Tres Caídas (Teotilalpam), Virgen de los Dolores de Soriano, Virgen de Guadalupe, Virgen del Pueblito, Virgen de Juquila, Virgen de los Remedios, Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos, Virgen de Talpa, Virgen de Tonatico, and Virgen de Zapopan.
Year: 2016
Primary URL:
Type: Single author monograph
Copy sent to NEH?: No
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

Miracles in Mexico (Web Resource)
Title: Miracles in Mexico
Author: Frank Graziano
Abstract: A companion website to the book, "Miraculous Images and Votive Offerings in Mexico," (Graziano, 2015).
Year: 2015
Primary URL: