Nun’s Coats of Arms

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Nun’s Coats of Arms are a unique and distinctive expression of devotional art that flourished in Spain and New Spain during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These small pictorial pieces, whether painted in oil or embroidered, served as a visible manifestation of the nuns’ religious devotion and identity. This edition offers a study of these artistic elements and their cultural significance. It is a selection of the most emblematic coats of arms of nuns and, among them, we highlight those used by the Mexican writer Sister Juan Inés de la Cruz.

Description and style

Nun’s shields are usually round or oval, painted in oil on copper plates, and are often adorned with frames decorated with flowers or other ornamental motifs. These works are related to the tradition of European miniatures and were adapted to the religious contexts of New Spain.
The scenes depicted on the shields vary, although a common theme is the image of the Virgin Mary, linking the nun to the ideal of Christ’s bride. In addition, biblical scenes and the lives of saints are also depicted, offering a rich variety of images reflecting different aspects of the Christian faith.

Use and function

Nun’s Coats of Arms were used as accessories in the nuns’ wardrobe, placed on the chest over the scapular or cloak. These pieces were especially significant during vow-taking and religious or conventual celebrations, serving as a visual expression of the nun’s dedication and holiness.
The practice of painting nuns with their shields in portraits also underlines the importance of these objects, not only as symbols of devotion, but also as an integral part of the nuns’ identity and representation.

Notable artists

The realization of nun’s shields attracted some of the best New Spanish painters of the time, such as José de Páez, Luis Juárez, Miguel Cabrera and Zurbarán. The fact that such renowned artists were involved in this genre speaks to the esteem and cultural value attributed to these works.

Nun’s coats of arms

Nun’s shields are a genre of devotional art that offers a window into the religious life and culture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Spain and New Spain. Through the delicate depiction of religious scenes, these shields become a powerful symbol of the nuns’ faith and commitment. At the same time, they represent an exquisite and detailed art form that reflects the skills and sensibilities of the artists of the time. Its both decorative and symbolic function ensures its place as a significant and distinctive facet of the artistic and religious heritage of that historical era.

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Estos son los formatos y dimensiones de nuestros libros:

Rústica tipográfica148 mm210 mm
Rústica ilustrada149 mm210 mm
Tapa dura152 mm228 mm


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