Crucifix with Archangels

Probably 16th century
Wood, gesso, paint, velvet loincloth and scutum, metal crown. Gilt and carved cross pieces with a stylized flower at the joint. Hair: wig.
The Templo at Yanhuitlán, Oaxaca, Mexico

Known locally as El Señor de la Misericordia, the Statue has the dark gold sheen of the very old works. The musculature and blood are realistic without being excessively detailed. The head leans to the right and the knees are slightly bent. The hair is carved and painted. There is no indication of a significant polychrome loincloth under the velvet one. The loincloth is embroidered in silver thread and decorated with silver ornaments. On the large scutum which sticks directly out from the right hip, there is a beaten silver image of the Agnus Dei. The cross is highly carved in a pattern of vines and flowers in gold on green posts.

The figures of the archangels have been repainted with great care. They are a pair, each head slightly inclined to a central point. The angel on our right has the right arm extended in which it holds a bouquet. The left hand, held away from the body at waist height, holds a staff. The angel on the left of the crucifix holds the flowers in the left hand. The right hand is held away and down. A silver fish has been tied to the wrist.

The garments are silver blue and cream. Each wears a long tunic slit to allow the knees and boots to show, as well as a short tunic with swirling skirts and the full-bottomed sleeves fashionable in the 18th century, decorated in small flowers. Each also has a silver breastplate with a scalloped edge and decorated in swirls and marked by the Dominican symbol of intertwined M's at the neck. Each angel's carved curls are capped by a bowl-shaped silver helmet decorated with red and white real feathers.

Being so similar, the two santos might be mistaken for a pair of St. Michaels, with the usual military garb. But the fish and identifies the one on the left as Raphael. Indeed, it is even possible that the one on the right is another Raphael, because the latter was sometimes shown with a staff.

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Read more about Crosses and crucifixes, St. Raphael, and St. Michael.

Photographed at the Temple by Richard and Claire Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.