This statue of the Virgin Mary with a baby Jesus which is believed to be over 800 years old has been pulled from a Spanish river after it was spotted by a fisherman tripped up on it.
Fisherman Fernando Brey Quintela spotted the statue as he was fishing in the Sar river near the city of Santiago de Compostela, in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia.
Quintela said he tripped on what he thought was a stone, but he then saw it “was square, which is quite strange in a river” and he quickly realised it was a statue when “he saw the undulations it had and the shape of a head,” he told local newspaper La Voz de Galicia.
The statue was partly underwater and Quintela called the Association for the Defence of Galician Cultural Heritage (Apatrigal), who sent a team to recover it.
The statue was taken to the Museum of Pilgrimages and Santiago after it was pulled from the for analysis.
Specialists said the granite statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, whose faces no longer remain, could belong to the Gothic Galician style, possibly dating from the 14th century, but further analysis is needed to confirm this.
The statue shows Mary on a throne with the baby Jesus as two angels, which are seriously worn away, hold up an object by her shoulders.
Preliminary analysis suggests the statue had previously been suspended from a wall, with the flowers and leaves at its base supporting this theory.
The figures’ faces are believed to have disappeared in a previous impact inflicted to try to “desanctify” the piece.
Experts are working to determine the statue’s cultural and historic value.