Jiménez Retablos

   

Retablos & Figures by the Jimenez family including Claudio Jiménez Quispe, Eleudora & Mabilon Jiménez as well as other artisans from Peru

 

Grand Master Artisan Claudio Jimenez Quispe from Peru - the #1 Retablo Maker in the World!

Claudio is world famous - being in over 70 prominent Museum & University collectoins!

Zanzibar features Claudio in our Gallery at least once every year or so!

 

RETABLOS & FIGURES THAT WERE FOR SALE

AT OUR SHOW THROUGH APRIL 30th, 2016 (SOME AVAILABLE-CALL)

 

VIEW PHOTOS OF OUR IN-GALLERY SHOW FROM OCTOBER 2015

 

PREVIOUSLY SOLD RETABLOS PAGE 1

PREVIOUSLY SOLD RETABLOS PAGE 2

PREVIOUSLY SOLD RETABLOS PAGE 3

PREVIOUSLY SOLD RETABLOS PAGE 4

 

 

 

The retablos that are shown on this page are but a small sampling of our inventory.  MOST of them have been sold - however some similar ones may be in stock...or available call to see what our current inventory is!  Claudio also does CUSTOM COMMISSIONS (allow 3-8 months)

CALL US TO FIND OUT OUR CURRENT INVENTORY!  - WE CAN EMAIL YOU PHOTOS!

 

SEE THE STEP-BY-STEP CREATION OF A RETABLO BY CLAUDIO JIMNENEZ

 

Crafted by the world-famous Peruvian Jiménez (Quispe) family, including Claudio, Mabilon and Eladora, as well as their cousins, these whimsical folk-art pieces are fine examples of a time-honored traditional handicraft called retablo.  Their brother Nicario Jiménez (who now lives in Florida) also does work (we do not currently represent him).   Crafted by the world famous Jimenez family of Peru, each is an unexpected and surprising work marrying grounded tradition with limitless imagination, and are sure to bring a smile to any who look upon them.  These figures are created using a doughy mixture of plaster, boiled potatoes, peach & agave juice and gypsum (a chalk-like powder).  No two are alike!  Pieces are meticulously painted using fine cactus needles and even paint brushes made from hairs from the family cat! 

In addition to the Jiménez Quispe family, Zanzibar also offers fine examples of retablos by other artisans (some related, some not, some were assistants to the Jimenez, others are individual artisans).  These artisans include Alcides Quispe, Luis & Julia Huamani Rodriguez Guiterrez (Claudio's assistant for many years who now has his own workshop) as well as others.  While there are MANY retablo artists in Peru, Zanzibar offers only the most famous and upcoming artisans. 

Angels, devils, mermaids, fanciful creatures, hearts, dogs, cats and skeletons, crosses oh my!  All of these and more creations from the Jimenez family in individual ornaments and free standing styles. 

Zanzibar currently has a wonderful ever changing selection of retablos and frames by Mabilon and Eleudora and Claudio and individual figures by Claudio as well as many other pieces by other Peruvian and Mexican retablo artists.  Retablos by Claudio have become almost impossible to source as of the last year.  We're ever hopeful!  Call to add your name to our call list for new shipments. (as of November 08 we've contracted with Claudio to represent more of his work in the USA and hope, by the first quarter of 2009 to offer his retablos faithfully and regularly.)

 

Traditional retablos featuring Peruvian villagers going about daily tasks - making bread, picking prickly pear cactus, making masks, music shops, funeral scenes, weddings, bakeries, flower shops - just about anything you can imagine!

Zanzibar Tribal Art Gallery carries a wide and ever changing stock of retablos and figures by the world famous Jimenez family of Peru and several other very talented artisans.  If you're interested, please contact to what we current have in stock.  For full size retablo boxes, you can be added to our wait list - we typically sell our retablos the day we receive them!

        

Many members of the Jiménez Quispe family are "retablistas" (artists who makes traditional wooden display boxes which depict miniature scenes).  For them, the making of retablo art is a family tradition.  The third and fourth generations of this family, with are world-renowned artists with pieces in dozens of museums including the Smithsonian, Folk Art Museums in Sante Fe and San Francisco and many others.  This family is originally from Ayacucho, high in the mountains. 

 Claudio, his brothers and sisters were born in the village of Alcamenca, which means “community working in stony earth” in Quechua.  Children of the noted Ayacuchan retablista, Florentino Jiménez Toma, their work has been exhibited widely in Peru and in the United States.  Claudio Jimenez Quispe (Quispe is his mother's maiden name and it is traditional in Central and South America to incorporate your mother's maiden name into your last name in addition to your father's) has been making retablos since he was 7 years old.  At the age of 15, Claudio Jiménez Quispe won two national competitions in folk art. 

Today the Jimenez family fashion figures, animals and mythological beings as they create joyful scenes from a doughy mixture of boiled potato and huamanga stone, yucca paste flour, various grains, gypsum powder and peach and agave juice using only simple wooden tools.  Incredibly fine details are brushed on using tiny needles from cactus - far smaller and finer than any brush could perform.   Claudio is able to do amazing detail using these natural fine brushes as well as paintbrushes crafted from the hairs of the family cat!

 

         

     

Claudio Jimenez Quispe is an internationally renowned maker of retablos and figures and is the primary artist who creates Zanzibar’s retablo figures, along with his brother Mabilon and sister Eluedora.  Originally from the famous family of retablo makers in Ayacucho, he now works in Lima. His work has been exhibited all over the world including the at the Smithsonian, the Sante Fe and San Francisco Folk Art Museums and many Universities and museums. Other members of his family, such as his brother Nicario, and sisters Eleudora and Mabilon are also skilled and make pieces for us (we currently do not represent Nicario's work).

 

Claudio is pictured above and just below making figures and holding two of his finished boxes.  Claudio learned the making of retablos from his father, Florentino Jimenez Toma while living in a tiny village of Alcamenca, Ayacucho and speaking Quechua, the language of the Inca people.  In the 1980’s, he and his family fled to Lima to avoid the violent insurgency that plagued many of the Andean villages called the Shining Light.  In 2006 he received First Place from the Embassy of Spain in Peru for the most outstanding retablo artist in Peru.  Recently, the artist was also be featured in a film “Against the Grain” by documentary filmmaker Ann Kaneko. 

Claudio credits his father, Florentino, for "opening my eyes" and encouraging him to create wonderful works of art.  Claudio is a humble, curious man (born in 1949 - in 2008 he is 59) who excels at creating incredibly life-like miniature representations of life around him.  He's very detail oriented and spends hours making sure the texture and color of his finished pieces are as life like as possible.  He visits traditional dances to view costumes, visits local leather tanning facilities, goes to zoos and aquariums - all to experience in person what he plans to create in miniature. 

         

 

Claudio Jimenez Quispe with his Don Quixote retablo that took him over a year to complete.

Retablos, derived from the Latin term "retro tabula" or "behind the altar," traditionally refered to devotional images typically placed behind an altar or table. Deeply rooted in Spanish colonial history, the folk art originated with painted, sculpted or carved religious images.  The Peruvian version of retablo incorporates detailed, three-dimensional scenes in a shadow box and can include religious scenes or depictions of daily life.

   

Claudio with Zanzibar owners Scott Farrell (left) and Josh Varner (right)

The term retablo traditionally applies to a broad variety of religious and other images of everyday life which are painted and sculpted over much of Latin America.  The word is derived from the Latin retro tabula, which means behind the (altar) table, where devotional images were typically placed. In Mexico, New Mexico and Guatemala retablo (or strictly speaking, retablo santo) has taken the form of images of Christ, the virgin, or the saints, painted on tin or wood. Carved and painted wood sculptures of saints and religious figures set in shallow boxes are generally referred to as nichos in this area.


The Peruvian retablo is, in a sense, a blend of the two forms. Figures of individual saints, people, animals, mythical figures, demons, devils and skeletons may be carved or sculpted of a mix of plaster (gypsum) and cooked potato and can be individual figures or many figures set in a shadow box, like a nicho.

  

Frequently they take the form of a three dimensional painting of a scene, consisting of many figures in very complex environments. The boxes form miniature houses or shrines, often with opening doors and a gable above the opening. Typically both the doors and the sides of the box are covered with an ornate, polychrome floral decoration. The Peruvian retablos traditionally serve as household shrines, which combine folk and Christian traditions. The art form has evolved to include the depiction of secular scenes of daily life in peru, such as markets, shops, harvests, weddings and other ceremonies. In some cases the subject matter may even be political, depicting the turmoil of the last few years.

  

"Santero or retablo boxes" originated in Europe and came to Peru with the Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century. Before bringing them to Peru, the boxes were used as portable altars by medieval travelers and pilgrims and were carried by soldiers into battle during the Crusades. In Peru, they were used by the Spanish evangelists to teach the Catholic faith to the native "infidels".

 

They were carried into the remote regions of Peru by the muleteers who carried all the products imported into South America by the Spanish. The muleteers, traveling long and arduous journeys through the Andes, relied on the magic capacity of the boxes to protect them from mishaps on their routes . Often, they would not come across another living soul for many days and faced storms, loss of animals, sickness and the supernatural world that filled the Andes with spirits and demons. When they camped they placed them under a canvas awning with oranges and flowers and lighted candles to ask for protection during their trip.
 

    


From the 17th to the 19th centuries, the Santero boxes were gradually transformed and integrated into the rural peasant religious life in a way reflecting cultural syncretism. They were used in magic ritual functions in the remote mountain regions in July and August of each year. The boxes/altars presided over the animal branding ceremony, one of the most important in the community life, because it insured the abundance and fertility of the animals. The box was placed outside on a table, where the owners of the animals would request its permission to begin the branding. Different saints were considered patrons of specific animals. For example, Saint Mark was the patron of bulls and cows; Saint Luke, the patron of the puma or Andean lion. There are many areas in which the indigenous people incorporated components from the new Spanish colonialist religion into their centuries-old traditional religious rites.

 

The knowledge to produce these boxes was passed on from one generation to the next in families dedicated to creating and maintaining this traditional craft. Beginning in the 1940's, the production of Santero boxes had almost completely passed into oblivion because the muleteers, who traditionally carried them from one region to another had been replaced by 20th century roads and trucks. Recognizing that new markets and audiences were necessary if this traditional art were to survive, Santero makers accepted the challenge and began to depict their customs to show them to the growing urban sector of Lima, the capital, and to foreign countries. The leading craftsmen of this movement is the Jimenez family, descendant of generations of muleteers. They have developed the new style of testimonial retablos.  Renamed "retablos" by a member of the Peruvian Indigenista movement, the Santero boxes have evolved into two types: costumbristas and testimonials.

   

The costumbristas depict the traditional festivals of the indigenous people such as Holy Week in Ayacucho, the branding of the bulls, bullfights, the Dance of the Scissors, the hunting of the condor, and Nativity crèches. They also depict scenes from daily life such as craftsmen weaving, making hats and musical instruments; market scenes and healing ceremonies.


  

The testimonials tell the story of the social and political changes that the Ayacucho region has suffered in the last fifteen years. One of the most common themes is that of terrorism, showing scenes of slaughter of peasants, armed fights, the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) guerrillas, and the army.

   

Five hundred years after having arrived in Peru and the Americas, the retablo is very much alive. Although probably no longer used as a ritualistic part of the branding ceremony, it is a window into the contemporary life and collective social thinking of the Andean people.

   

        

       

       

     

Click on photo to enlarge.  Labeled with a letter in upper right hand corner  Subject to prior sale.

   

 

  

F, G & J are frames - for photos or a mirror!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above - pieces by Alcides Quispe - Claudio's cousin

The above pieces (sports skeletons) are done by Alcides Quispe, cousin to Claudio Jimenez. 

                

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NEW INVENTORY AS OF MARCH 20, 2008

THESE ARE ALL SIGNED PIECES BY CLAUDIO JIMENEZ (QUISPE)

This is the FIRST shipment we have received since last June.  Claudio is primarily gone to self representation only... and his pieces have gone up in price considerably!  We were fortune enough to receive nine retablos.  These will most likely all be sold in the next 24-48 hours... get yours while you can!  You can also be put on our list to be called IF and when we get any others...  I apologize for poor picture quality.  I unpacked these in the last hour.. and took quick photos of them under not so great lighting conditions...just to get them online quickly.  Note that if the background appears "shiny" its just from the flash.. they are mostly matt backgrounds.  The photos don't do them justice.  These are very full, unlike our last shipment which had a more sparse look - we asked him to fill them up completely and he did a great job - although they are more expensive than they have been in the past.  They are still a DEAL as compared to his brother Nicarios pieces (we do not represent Nicario and some of his pieces are amazing!)  Call for prices, please.  (916) 443-5601 or 1-888-467-6750  - AS OF NOV 08 we've made a commission of Claudio and expect to have, in early 2009, a regular supply of Claudio's works.  We've also negotiated to represent him in the USA and we can offer his works at a price we haven't been able to for several years.  We will take pre-orders for specific pieces or Claudio can do custom commission pieces to your specifications (please allow 3-4 months for custom pieces, minimum). 

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO SEE A LARGER PICTURE

traditional mask dance - SOLD

 

Skeleton Mask Shop - SOLD

 

Retablo Shop with people  - SOLD

  

Music Shop with Skeletons (likely the NICEST of its kind we've received) - SOLD

close up of skeleton music shop - left w/out flash, right with flash!

mask shop with people - SOLD

  

Cross with dozens of pigeons! - SOLD

 

  

Skeleton Wedding - SOLD

 

Skeleton Party (one of two)  - SOLD

  

Skeleton Party (two of two) - SOLD

 

Click on photo to enlarge. Subject to prior sale.

NEW STOCK BY MABILON AND ELEUDORA JIMENEZ as of May 23, 2008

           

NEW STOCK BY LUIS - Claudio's apprentice - as of May 23, 2008

signed Luis y Julia HR, these retablos (we also have some small ones) were done by Claudio's assistant/apprentice of five years who now has his own workshop and is making retablos independently.  With a style very similar to Claudio's, his work is greatly improving and will surely be an artist to collect and watch!

   

 

NEW STOCK - JUNE 27, 2008 - 3 Crosses signed by Claudio Jimenez

   

ALL THREE CROSSES ABOVE ARE SOLD - We expect several more in early 2009

Click on crosses to go to another page with more detailed photos!

NEW INVENTORY AS OF NOV 08

click on photos to enlarge

      

    

     

     

     

  

  

BELOW ARE OUR NEWEST ACQUISITIONS FROM CLAUDIO IN NOV 08

we have commissioned around a dozen retablos for delivery in early 2009 (late January to sometime in March delivery).  We are taking pre-orders.  We will also be taking orders for custom retablos from Claudio.  Please allow 3-4 months for delivery.   MORE RETABLOS EXPECTED MID DECEMBER, too!

CLAUDIO'S PIECES TYPICALLY SELL OUT WITHIN 24-48 HOURS OF OUR RECEIPT

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO GO TO ANOTHER PAGE WITH LARGER PHOTOS OF THESE RETABLOS

The last Judgment/Purgatory by Claudio Jimenez Quispe - SOLD

A skeleton Nativity by Claudio Jimenez Quispe - Available as of Nov 26, 2008 - SOLD

 

Forest of Birds retablo by Claudio Jimenez Quispe - SOLD

Something NEW!   An ornate frame by Claudio featuring Frida Kahlo with monkeys and a jungle background (in an homage to her self portraits).  - price upon request  Measures approx. 15x15" (+/-)

Graveyard scene with death -SOLD

 

BELOW ARE OUR NEWEST ACQUISITIONS FROM CLAUDIO IN DEC 08

we have commissioned around a dozen retablos for delivery in early 2009 (late January to sometime in March delivery).  We are taking pre-orders.  We will also be taking orders for custom retablos from Claudio.  Please allow 3-4 months for delivery.   CLAUDIO'S PIECES TYPICALLY SELL OUT WITHIN 24-48 HOURS OF OUR RECEIPT

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Skeleton Music Shop by Claudio Jimenez Quispe - SOLD

Skeleton Musicians and Dancers by Claudio Jimenez Quispe - (SOLD)

Heart Shop by Claudio Jimenez Quispe - SOLD

Hat Shop by Claudio Jimenez Quispe - call for price (available as ofJan 16 09)

 

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