When I see an arrow saying ‘Museum’, especially if it’s somewhere unusual, I’m drawn to follow it. This is how I came across the Museum of the Infant Baby Jesus.
The Church of Our Victorious Lady in Prague is known for a small statue of baby Jesus. It may be blasphemous to say, but it’s not a great statue. If it’s meant to be a baby it’s rather an unconventional shape. But it has attracted the adoration of thousands of visitors. And what a spectacle Baby Jesus is. Dressed in a lavish purpose made gown, on a plinth on high, surrounded by gold and gesturing a blessing to his visitors, the opulence is eye watering.
So where does the museum come in? At the back corner of the church is a spiral staircase, with an arrow directing you up the stairs with the tell-tale word ‘MUZEUM’. I’m not going to ignore that arrow. So up the spiral staircase, which is decorated with a catwalk series of photos of the infant saviour idol in some of his many outfits.
Finally you get to the room that contains his wardrobe. Lined in a large case these outfits are beautiful creations, each with a little plaque indicating the date they were created and who they were given by. At 46 outfits and 2 bling crowns he’s got an impressive wardrobe and gets lovingly changed around 10 times a year, thus continuing traditions that have been in place since he arrived from Spain in 1628.
But what does he look like when he’s not all dressed up on display . . . this too is portrayed in a photograph in the exhibition; without his capes and bling he definitely looks smaller.
This was probably one of the more surreal museum visits that I have had. Maybe it was because it was in a church, maybe because I wasn’t expecting it, or maybe because I don’t really understand the necessity of such an extensive wardrobe since the wee guy can only wear one thing at once. Regardless, I did find it fascinating and the ritual that surrounds this one object and the connections that are created between this statue and people is bordering on ‘relic-like’ and very interesting.
Want to sere of Prague’s Museums? Look here.