St. James the Greater was one of the twelve apostles and one of Jesus’ closest disciples. His connection with walking and running long distances arose because the alleged site of his relics, in Compostela, Spain, became one of the most important pilgrimage destinations of Christianity. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, for instance, half a million or more people per year made the thousand-mile pilgrimage from western France to Compostela, in the extreme northwest of Spain. The pilgrimage lasted for months (sometimes years) and involved extreme danger and hardship, the terrain being rugged and remote, shepherds and their flocks abounding. Today, thousands of people each year continue to make this pilgrimage on foot, carrying backpacks and making the thousand-mile walk (sometimes run) across the same paths people have been taking for eight hundred years.
James is here shown as he often is in sacred statuary: as a pilgrim, walking. The shell he wears was the symbol of the medieval Christian pilgrim. In his left hand he carries a gourd, the medieval canteen. He strolls with one of the other creatures who, like pilgrims, inhabit the route to Compostela.
This one of a kind piece is hand carved by American artist Hank Schlau and hand painted by his wife Karen Schlau. Made of durable material that can be displayed both indoors and outdoors.
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