Jesus Statue Has Actual Human Teeth

Mexican restorer says it 'seems mad,' but it's real
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2014 3:30 PM CDT
A screen capture from a video about the statue.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – A 300-year-old statue of Jesus seems ordinary except for one little thing: It has real human teeth, LiveScience reports. "We said 'Ah, it's not possible!'" says Fanny Unikel Santoncini, who was restoring the statue from a small-town parish in Mexico. But her anthropologist spotted the chompers in an X-ray and said she was "absolutely sure about this." The statue of a bleeding Jesus awaiting his crucifixion is otherwise typical of its times, made from wood with a wig and human clothes. Animal or even human body parts on statues aren't so odd in Mexico; a bull's horns might serve as nails, or a wig could have real hair. But Unikel had never seen a statue with actual human teeth.

"We have to remember that these people were very, very religious," she says. "They believed absolutely that there was a life after death and this was important for them." Perhaps a parishioner gave the teeth as a "token of gratitude," or the teeth were extracted against someone's will (which the sculptor would have kept a secret). Unikel adds that the teeth probably weren't holy relics, which would have been displayed in a reliquary, reports CNET. Another oddity: The statue's mouth is hardly open, so it's hard to notice the teeth at all. "For us, it seems mad," Unikel says, but "the way they thought about the body was different from ours." (Meanwhile, are Islamic militants destroying the language of Jesus?)

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