Spanish historians came across a very unusual discovery while restoring a Jesus Christ statue from the 18th century. The statue named Cristo del Miserere, portraying Christ's crucifixion, has been kept in St. Águeda church in northern Spain for several years. When it started cracking and coming apart, preservationists started renovating it, leading to this startling revelation.
Gemma Ramírez, a preservationist with Madrid's Da Vinci Restauro, noticed something unusual about the statue while placing it on the work table. Further investigation revealed two 240-year-old letters placed up the butt of the statue. The letters, yellowed with age, are dated 1777 and were written by Joaquin Mínguez, a chaplain of the Burgo de Osma cathedral.
This document is hugely significant as it is like a makeshift time capsule, giving details about 18th century life. It is also noted that the statue was made by Manuel Bal, a person responsible for creating wooden statues for other local churches.
Apart from this, Mínguez also details several aspects of his contemporary society, reports National Geographic.
18th-century society and culture
The letters depict the day-to-day economic and cultural activities of the people of that era. The harvest of popular crops like wheat, rye, oats and barley are also described there, along with storage of wine.
Along with agriculture, Mínguez writes about pastimes activities with balls and card, and diseases like typhoid and malaria which plagued their society.
Mínguez has included political details in his letter, hinting to the fact that he wanted his letters to be a historical record of that age, historian Efren Arroyo tells El Mundo. The letters mention that King Carlos III was the ruler then and the Spanish court was situated in Madrid. It also mentions the horrific measures adopted by the Spanish Inquisition to prevent heresy in the kingdom.
Arroyo mentions that it is unusual for holy statues to have such relics, these letters being an exception. The documents have been sent to the Archbishop of Burgos to be kept in the archive. Their copies have been placed back into Jesus's statue's buttocks to carry forward Mínguez's deed.