Hand carved completely of wood and hand painted, the nicho, a portable altar box, displays a santo on a stepped pedestal. This santo is a religious statue known as a bulto; in this instance the bulto depicts Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe), the vision of the Virgin Mary who appeared on a hillside in Guadalupe in 1531 and is the patron saint of Mexico.
Our Lady is shown as a young woman wearing a rose-colored gown and a green and blue hooded robe, with her hands clasped in prayer at her breast. She is surrounded by a flaming golden halo and supported by an angel with outspread wings, emerging from a ball that traditionally is a representation of the moon. The square base is painted red and gold. There are many interesting details, such as the golden necklace around her neck and a similar one around the neck of the angel.
The background color on the front of the nicho is red, with a design of stripes in gold and black. The arch that crowns the nicho is decorated with three deep blue-green Flores de Tonalá (Tonalá flowers) while each side panel is embellished with a pair of two leaves in the same color. The wooden panel behind the santo is shaded in black in an arch shape to focus attention on Our Lady.
The pair is in excellent condition, with just tiny chips in the paint in a few places, and dates from the second half of the 20th century. We have carefully cleaned as much dust as we could from both pieces without risking damage. The nicho is 19 inches tall, 11 inches across the top and 10 inches wide at the base, and about 3 1/2 inches deep. The bulto is 11 1/2 inches tall, about 4 inches across at the widest point and stands on a base approximately 3 inches square. Nicho and santo together weigh about 3 pounds. They're outstanding examples of Mexican religious folk art.