Santos in Oaxaca's Ancient Churches

A study of santos in 16th-century and other churches in Oaxaca, Mexico

By Claire and Richard Stracke
Funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation

In San Miguel Achiutla:

Christ at the Pillar
Christ carrying the Cross
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Rosary

Resurrected Christ

Sacred Heart of Jesus + Christ Child
St. John the Baptist
St. Joseph
St. Michael (1)
St. Michael (2)

St. Michael (3)
St. Michael (4)
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)
St. Rose of Lima
St. Sebastian
Unidentified Dominican saint
Unidentified saint

Virgin Mary Altar
Virgin Mary in White
Christ Carrying the Cross  
Christ Carrying the Cross:
This is an unusual statue. The figure has abnormally long hands and an elongated face. The cross is only half as high as the figure and is also unusual in being a combination of two common, and one would think incompatible, designs. Like dowel-and-endcap crosses, it is painted a vivid green, has brass endcaps, and is distinctly abstract. But it also resembles another type common in Oaxaca, the more realistic tree-like cross with a rough surface and cut-off "branches." This cross has such "branches," but they are hardly realistic, having the same vivid green as the main crosspieces, and the same brass endcaps and thick dowel shape.

Basis for Identification: Cross, crown of thorns, purple robe

Site: The Church of San Miguel Achiutla

Location: In a glass case on the second altar along the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint. Eyes: painted. Teeth: sculpted.

Size: About 6 feet (185 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Cuilapan, Tlaxiaco, Yanhuitlán, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Jesus Carrying the Cross

Next: On the same altar, Christ at the Pillar

Previous santo

Introduction to San Miguel Achiutla

Santos Home Page

Note: On this site, references to the cardinal directions always assume that the main altar is at the east end of the church, the narthex or entry area at the west end, and the two walls of the nave on the north and south. (The nave is the long central section.) Actual orientations may differ.

The photo shown here is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. You are free to share or remix it on two conditions: first, that you attribute it to the photographers, Claire and Richard Stracke, without implying any approval of your work  on their part; second, that if you alter, transform, or build upon this photo, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.