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
Crucifix
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
Crucifix

Crucifix:
Very bloody, deep lesions at knees. Carved hair flows across right collar-bone to below the arm. The eyes are closed, the face down.

Local Name: El Señor de la Misericordia

Basis for Identification: Bloody figure on a cross.

Other characteristics:
Figure: small white
perizoma rather than the full loincloth often seen in older Oaxaca churches.
Cross: green hexagonal crosspieces, the transverse ends painted gold, a break in the paint where one would expect an INRI plaque.

Site: Church of San Miguel Achiutla.

Location: On a small altar along the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Corpus is wood, gesso, paint, with carved hair.

Size: About 15 inches (38 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Santa Ana del Valle1, Santa Ana del Valle2, Santa Ana del Valle3, Cuilapan, Etla, Guelavia, Mitla, Nochixtlán, Tamazulapan1, Tamazulapan2, Teitipac1, Teitipac2, Teitipac3, Teitipac Our Lady of the Rosary, Teotitlán1, Teotitlán2, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2, Teposcolula3 (in Rosary case),  Teposcolula Convento1, Teposcolula Convento2, Tilantongo1, Tilantongo2, Tlacolula1, Tlacolula2, Xoxocotlán1, Xoxocotlán2, Xoxocotlán3, Xoxocotlán4, Yanhuitlán1, Yanhuitlán2, Yanhuitlán Convento1, Yanhuitlán Convento2, Yanhuitlán Convento3, Yanhuitlán Convento4, Yanhuitlán Convento5, Yanhuitlán Ayuxi Chapel, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Crucifixes in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: Archaeology of the Cross and Crucifix
Wikipedia: Crucifix
Christian Iconography: The Crucifixion

Next: Three statues on the altar of the Virgin in White. 

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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.