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A beautifully illustrated 175-page art book compiled and written by Corrales’ Martha Egan is being distributed by the University of New Mexico Press. Relicarios: the forgotten jewels of Latin America is a product of Egan’s 40 years of research since her Peace Corps days in Venezuela. The hardcover book is available at her store in the Casa Perea Artspace, 4829 Corrales Road.

“In the mid-1970s while I was perusing the jewelry case of a Lima antique shop, I spied several pretty framed miniatures of saints painted in a Cusco style. ‘They’re relicarios,’ the owner told me. ‘Two-sided, eighteenth century, silver frames.’

“As a fledgling buyer of Latin American antiques for my Santa Fe store,  Pachamama, I believed her and bought them. She was right about them each having two sides, but her other claims were false. In time, with a more experienced and jaundiced eye, I could spot similar twentieth century reproductions in their pot-metal frames from across a room.”

The book can also be ordered through www.papalotepress.com. It was published by Fresco Books in Albuquerque and printed in Italy. Her research took her throughout Latin America, Spain and Portugal as well as around the United States.

In the book’s preface, Egan notes, “Even as a recovering Catholic, I felt compelled to research this art form, embarking on what became a four-decades-long project of collecting, studying and interviewing authorities about these little jewels.”

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