Devotion to the Holy Childhood dates to the earliest days of Christianity and many of the Church Triumphant were particularly attentive to this aspect of Our Lord. Two Saints who are intimate friends of our family come to mind. Saint Therese of the Child Jesus was so influenced that she promoted the "Little Way" as a pathway to sanctity. Saint Anthony the Wonder Worker is depicted with the Infant Jesus on an open book of scripture. Of course, Saint Joseph, His foster father, is often shown holding the Precious Child. Others, including Saint Francis of Assisi who created the first Christmas crèche, Saint Christopher, who carried the very heavy Infant across a raging stream, and Saint Rose of Lima also tell us of their devotion to the Holy Child.
From Rome to Mexico to the Philippines, Catholics love the Infant Jesus. Perhaps the best know of the Child's titles of the Holy Childhood is the Infant of Prague. The story of the discovery and restoration of this miraculous statue is amazing and the subsequent events associated with the devotion should be more than enough to urge every Catholic to take it up. We encourage you to visit a wonderful Catholic site to explore the many facets of the Holy Childhood in general and the Miraculous Infant of Prague in particular.
Soon we'll also have a special page dedicated to Santo Nino, Infant de Atoche, Infant of Cebu and many more.
We hope you enjoy looking through this page. If you have an infant you'd like to share with us or a story about an intervention, please let us know.
Readers who find our website always ask if these are for sale.
The answer is yes - and no.
The "No" Part - The Infant of Prague statues that you see here are not for sale.
The "Yes" Part - Our shelves are overflowing with Infants in need of a little bit of repair or new vestments. As time allows, they will be shown here or see the few we have in our storefront.
The best place to find Infant of Prague statue bargains is on eBay.
We also carry a few newer pieces but don't look for any that are Made in China.
Update: I've formed some partnerships with other Catholic companies who sell Infant of Prague items. You'll be able to find them on a new page coming soon.
"Yes" Part 2 - Our website has become extremely popular due to the extensive photo archives we host and we anticipate that this page will generate a lot of interest because there simply isn't anything like it on the web.
So ... if you have an Infant of Prague you would like to showcase for sale here, let us know. There will be a small donation asked - a lot cheaper than eBay - to help offset the ever escalating cost of maintaining this site.
Most - but not all -of the Infant of Prague statues you'll see here have traveled through our doors. Believe it or not, they represent only a small portion of those we've owned.
Quite a few of them came from the home of an exceptionally saintly Polish woman who suffered incredible trials in her life and was forced to downsize. A kindred spirit, she spent years rescuing Catholic statuary, especially Infants. This page is created with prayerful thoughts of her. Below is a very small part of her family.
Almost every Infant of Prague has a story. I'm about to embark on the repair of one such Infant and will post step-by-step repair instructions here. I found half of Him tossed in a corner in the attic of an estate sale. He had no head. I walked away once, twice, three times. "I do not need another broken Infant," I told my husband. "Especially not one without a head!" The third time back up in that dusty, dirty attic, I picked Him up. It was as though He was speaking to me: "Don't leave Me here!" OK, I thought, but you'd better help me to find You a head. Almost ready to leave, something drew me to look in the back of a china cabinet. There in the back was His head.
The Original Infant of Prague
A Carmelite Sister Changes the Vestments of the Original Infant of Prague.
The Original Infant of Prague is made of wax over a wooden core. The lower half, from the waste down, is covered with a protective silver cylinder. He stands 18 1/2" tall including the wooden base.
The original Infant of Prague in one of His many vestments. The collection is extensive and many are embellished with rare jewels, gold and the finest silks and brocades, all fitting for an Infant King.
An antique wax Infant of Prague. Click to enlarge images.
A rare 17th century Infant of Prague composed of wax with original clothing offered in private auction.
What gives form to some of the Infant of Prague's vestments? Sometimes a cardboard cone! More usually a stiff net petticoat. And of course, some people need to be sure that the lacy frills are kept dust free - but even the plastic covers have a little decoration!
We love to dress our precious human infants in all sorts of finery, and we also love to dress our Infant of Prague statues. While the traditional color for His cape is red reflecting royalty, you'll find every color of the rainbow, and more often than not, dripping with lace and often a gold lace overlay like the second from left.
The beautiful vestments of the Infant of Prague on the left are so layered with exquisite lace that one can hardly see the Child! This vestment set is inset with rhinestones and a little Chaplet of the Infant of Prague hangs for the arm raised in blessing, as it does in the second from the left. That Infant's vestments are layered with a beautiful translucent lace and also inset with rhinestones. Note the tiny medallion around his neck.
Ask anyone who has searched for the "right" Infant of Prague what they look for and the answer is always the face. A simple Infant of Prague with a childlike face, dressed in a simple white gown is transformed into Divine Royalty with a jeweled undergarment with rows of lace, topped with a beautiful blue satin cloak. And, of course, a jeweled crown fit for the Infant King.
Often the owners of a cherished Infant of Prague will add a Holy Rosary or Chaplet of the Infant of Prague as well as a Cross around His Neck, like the simple plastic one second to left. You will find just about anything that is meaningful to the owner.
A Host Suspended over the Chalice is a popular motif for vestments. Often they were commercially printed or hand painted on the gown and sometimes embroidered as in the example at the left.
On the left below, the Host and Chalice motif and the entire gown itself is completely covered with sequins, a true work of love. Second from left is a figure that seems to be adapted from another doll to become the Infant of Prague. With long curly hair and holding a ball bearing globe, He sits atop an arrangement of old tea tins. The second to right vestment features a Cross of gold beads added by the owner and at far right pearls have been added.
While many Infant of Prague vestments are commercially manufactured, you will often find home made efforts in velvet or satin. Stand up collars like the one on the left, receive help from a cardboard inset and the collar is shaped like a pocket. Every infant can be difficult to dress and the Infant of Prague is no exception. The Infant second from the left is an example of how lace sleeves are fashioned: simply circles of gathered lace, sometimes with elastic to keep them in place. The cloak at far right is a stately example of the artful use of gold braiding to accentuate a royal purple vestment.
It is hard to imagine that the vestments shown at the left might have been made at home. The gold leaf stitching and inset gold balls are an example of some outstanding work. Second from right shows the use of gold braiding to form a Cross that compliments the edging on this winsome Infant of Prague. At far right the more stately Infant of Prague wears a cloak accented with silver braiding. The heavy satin collared rochetta is covered with a light lace that is shot through with gold and silver to accept the cloak.
Below are two examples of homemade vestments. Often the cloak and dress are sewn as a single piece: a large circle half in satin and half in velvet. Holes are cut in the front so the Blessing Hand and Globe can protrude. Generally a circlet of elasticized lace is placed around each to cover the cuts. At right, an upright collar has been fashioned which requires ties to keep it in place.
The sweet-faced Infants of Prague below were in need of some restoration, although the faces were perfect. Fresh gilding brightened His gown at the collar and at far right, the addition of traditional stars brought interest to an otherwise plain gown. The Infant of Prague at the left had an indentation in the head to hold in place a crown which was missing. We experimented with a base of jewelers wire covered with gold findings and ruby glass beads to create a new crown and a Cross for the top of the globe. Beading was added to the front of his vestment to compliment them. The Infant of Prague at the right had the original crown, but was missing the Cross which we fashioned like the one at the left.
Similar to the Infant of Prague shown above, there is another by Despositato in Italy. The simple figure at left is transformed to Divine Royalty with the addition of a heavy satin collared gown that features an overlay of gold lace. A royal cape of purple is added.
Another example of older Despositato Infant of Prague statuary. The beautifully painted face features liquid eyes that almost look as though they're made of glass. This one was severely damaged at the base when we obtained Him and it was necessary to completely reconstruct His feet. Repairs are relatively simple with the use of joint compound as a base. We like to use a dental plaque scraper as a tool for finishing. Light cracks can be filled in with a loose mixture of plaster of Paris applied with a brush. This beautiful vestment is constructed using the half circle technique. Gold lame provides the cape in back while the gown is heavy white satin with an overlay of gold lace.
The Infant of Prague below is probably our all time favorite and has the most intriguing story. A very large and beautiful statue, it was originally in the case shown below. As we understand it, the Infant turned up on the doorstep of a local parish. It was cherished by the Filipino community there and traveled from home to home for devotions to the Holy Childhood. We were told that many blessings and perhaps miraculous events took place through those devotions.
It is not known where all the vestments came from, but this beautiful child wore seven different layers beneath his apricot cloak. Inexplicably he ended up at a white elephant fundraiser for the parish. We offered to find Him a new home via eBay. With an enormous amount of work, we photographed Him, carefully packed Him in a huge crate and shipped Him off to a lovely woman who purchased Him for her terminally ill sister. We gave the funds to the Church.
Our big mistake was that we never removed His garments.
The buyer contacted us to say that He was badly cracked and sent photos. We were horrified. He came back and we refunded the large sum she paid as well as the significant cost of shipping him both ways to the other side of the country. It was a significant financial blow for us at a time when we could least afford it, but we took it as a personal loss and acted in faith.
He sat in his crate for some months, untouched until one day, a neighbor who faced many serious difficulties came across the street to ask if we had a case for an Infant of Prague. She had just discovered the devotion and wanted to place hers in a special place. Yes, of course! We unpacked the Infant and gave her the case. We won't go into the details, but suffice it to say that her Infant of Prague brought many blessings to her home that we think are nothing short of miraculous.
What to do with the damaged Infant? I brought him outside onto our porch and started to pray, speaking to Him from my heart. Although it may seem odd, it was as though the Infant Himself directed the repairs which took a solid week of nearly non-stop work. I should mention that I have absolutely no training in art or sculpting and had no clue about what I was doing. It didn't matter. Eventually we put him up for sale once again. The wonderful Catholic woman who purchased Him fell in love with His face. We can understand why. As for my own time with the Infant, I can only say that His words are true: "The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you." While I wasn't seeking His abundant blessing, He kept His promise beyond any imaginable expectations.
The Infant of Prague vestments below are some examples of 1940s homemade work. We love the face of the Infant below.
The two Infant of Prague statues below have beautiful handmade vestments. The one on the left is enhanced with faux rabbit fur and each of the crowns is filled in with matching fabric. As nice as the vestments are, it is the face of the Holy Infant that captivates.
One mystery of the Infant of Prague we have not been able to solve has to do with coloration. Again and again we see vestments in apricot which is not at all a liturgical color. Statues with red hair are exceptionally popular as well but seemingly a little odd for the Son of God. If you have any ideas about this, please let us know.
Again, it is the face that seizes our hearts. The Infant of Prague on the left is an antique with exquisitely tailored vestments, but it is His amazing face that makes this so special, appearing almost to be made of wax. He looks every bit the Infant King. The Infant of Prague on the right is simple enough, but his beautiful eyes and rosy cheeks inspire great tenderness. The pleated front gown is unusual and very attractive.
Sparkling lace overlays and fresh gilding make the Infant on the left most attractive. In the center is a rather unusual Infant of Prague. While the face has a somewhat wax like appearance, we wonder whether this was created from another doll. The vestments were lovingly hand crafted and He has been fitted with a fiberboard platform. At right we see a Columbia Statuary Infant of Prague with His wardrobe.
While many Infant of Prague statues are adorned with cloth vestments, others have such a beautiful design that it's not needed. The statue at left is a superlatively designed example of church quality statuary with heavily gilded embellishments. To the right are two examples of Chalkware statues depicting royal fur-embellished robes. Generally this type of statue stands alone without vestments added. At bottom left is a statue we found with a damaged lace collar. With joint compound and our dental scaler it was restored.
Small porcelain Infant of Prague statues are popular as well. Many bear red foil Made in Japan stickers. The figure at far left shows one of the primary problems with red robed porcelain Infants: paint loss. The one at far right is a coveted Infant of Prague and features applied porcelain lace collar and cuffs. While these become easily soiled it doesn't dampen the enthusiasm of collectors.
Most porcelain Infant of Prague figures feature bright gilding, as in the examples below. The second from right is, we think particularly charming and is of bisque porcelain and fitted with a metal crown. At far right is a sample of the little porcelain Infants offered in gift shops in Prague itself. Note the figure in blue, which was the color of the robe when the original Infant was found.
Delicately hand-carved figures by ANRI are always a desirable collectible, no matter what the subject. We think the medium is especially suited to the Infant of Prague. At left are two examples of carved, hand painted ANRI figures. In the center is a beautifully gilded Infant of Prague shrine by ANRI that we were delight to discover at an estate sale. Despite the foxing on the gilding it was an exceptional piece. At far right is another carved wood Infant of Prague we found, with truly outstanding detailing set atop a scrolled platform. The maker is unknown.
Other forms, less common to be sure, include an ivory glazed ceramic Infant of Prague at far left, a hand painted alabaster figure, an exquisite while marble figure and another mystery Infant at the right. This gold Infant was found in a convent garden and was completely hidden from sight under some shrubs. We believe he was originally composed of heavy composition plaster, but a great deal had eroded away, leaving the appearance of an ancient artifact. One of the sisters applied gold paint to him in an effort, we suppose to bring Him back to His former glory.
In more modern times, we continue to love the Infant of Prague. Below are examples of vinyl, resin and plastic figures
Shrines have always been treasure devotional items in Catholic homes and our love for the Infant of Prague extends to them. The Inarco Made in Japan porcelain shrine at left features smiling cherubs, the late 1940s plastic figure has been combined with gold filigree as a regal backdrop. In the center is a beautiful piece of early celluloid with an inset image of the Holy Child. At far right is an early hard plastic figure popular for dashboards.
Without a doubt, the light up Infant of Prague borders on kitsch. Standing about 12" tall, these hard vinyl figures feature a light up cord and, inevitably that mysterious apricot coloring for the vestments.
Harder to find is the porcelain light up Infant of Prague, complete with holes in the back to release heat from the light. The example below shows the typical problem with red Made in Japan paint. A more modern light up figure comes with its own wall mounted shelf. And - our favorite - a combination wall switch - holy water font in honor the Infant. Maybe not too safe, but we like it anyway!
We can't figure out what inspired the Infant of Prague bottle opener - or who would use it! Crowns can be found from time to time, but they are very costly. A little golden Infant encased in Lucite makes a holy paperweight. And at right is an early plastic wall shrine
Lefton and Napcoware planters are hard to find. Perfect also for holding little prayer booklets, holy cards, or your rosary. Be sure to take a look at our head vase and planter page, which was the first of our photo archives. In the center is a beautiful chalkware Infant of Prague wall plaque that probably dates to the early 1940s. Little plastic figures enjoyed enormous popularity in the 1940s - 50s although there was also paint loss of the finer features.
It is alarming when your Infant of Prague's head comes off - but not if it's a holy water bottle! At right magnificent heraldry.
Tiny metal holy images were very popular in the 1940s - 1950s. These were often presented in metal cases and carried by soldiers at war. We have one that in a vinyl case with the powerful hourly prayer for an urgent need to the Infant of Prague that we carry with us daily - just in case. The second from the right is a highly detailed pewter version. The two little figures in plastic also date to the 1940s and we think they are perfect for a Catholic dollhouse. At far right is a lovely pressed tin image in a clear early plastic frame, also from the 1940s.
"Have pity on Me and I will have pity on you. Give Me My hands and I will give you peace.
The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you".
If you have a damaged Infant of Prague, don't be afraid to repair Him. He will help you.