Los Tres Reyes Magos

On the Catholic calendar, the Three Kings are celebrated on the 6th of January. On this date Puerto Rican children traditionally expected their Christmas gifts, not from Santa Claus, but from the Three Kings. In Puerto Rico, the Three Kings, (in Spanish called Reyes Magos) are depicted as riding horses, not camels. According to the Bible, these kings are said to come from the east, although popular tradition identifies one of the kings as Melchor and depicts him as African in origin. The figure of Melchor is one of the first representations of a black person in Puerto Rican art. This set of Three Kings is from the town of Morovis, probably crafted around 1990 by a member of the Rivera family.
Description (Spanish)
El calendario católico fija la celebración del Día de Reyes para el 6 de enero. Los niños puertorriqueños esperaban que este día los Reyes Magos, y no Santa Claus, les trajeran sus regalos de Navidad. En Puerto Rico, los Reyes Magos se representan montados a caballo en vez de en camellos. A pesar de que la Biblia dice que estos reyes venían del este, la tradición popular describe a uno de los reyes, Melchor, con características de origen africano. La figura de Melchor es una de las primeras representaciones de una persona de raza negra en el arte puertorriqueño. Esta artesanía de los Reyes Magos proviene del pueblo de Morovis y es probable que su creador haya sido uno de los miembros de la familia Rivera.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
late 19th century
Rivera Group
Physical Description
wood; paint; metal (overall material)
handmade (overall production method/technique)
wood (overall material)
paint (overall material)
metal (overall production method/technique)
overall: 17.6 cm x 20.7 cm x 6 cm; 6 15/16 in x 8 1/8 in x 2 3/8 in
Place Made
Puerto Rico: Arecibo, Morovis
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Puerto Rico
Three Kings
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
Cultures & Communities
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
The Three Kings
Credit Line
Gift of Teodoro Vidal

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