While many Hispano-Philippine ivories of the baroque period tend to be formulaic representations of religious subjects, the highly individual style and incredible refinement of this head of St John the Baptist would suggest that it was created as part of a very unusual and important composition. Stylistically, it relates closely to Hispano-Philippine ivories of the 17th century such as the two St Michaels in a private Mexican collection (M. M. Estella Marcos, Marfiles, Monterrey, 1997, pp. 100-105, nos. 40-41) where one can see the near identical rendition of heavy oval eye-lids, lobed nostrils and individually defined strands of curly hair. The purposeful truncation to the neck indicates that the head is a representation of St John the Baptist after his beheading and may well have formed part of a larger composition of Salome presenting the head to Herod and Herodias.