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
Saint Sebastian

Saint Sebastian:
The figure is in the traditional Sebastian stance and has curly blond shoulder-length hair. The right arm has been repaired. The right middle finger is missing. The paint is chipped in places, especially the left leg. The loincloth is quite brief; there is a navel. A wooden implement is in the left hand.

Local Name: San Sebastián.

Basis for Identification: Youth in mustache and goatee tied to a tree, naked except for a loincloth. Red and bleeding arrow wounds.

Other characteristics: Ample curly blond hair, gold loincloth.

Site: Church of San Miguel Achiutla.

Location: West end of the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint. Eyes: painted eyes.

Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Ocotlán, Teotitlán, Tilantongo, Xoxocotlán, Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Saint Sebastian in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Sebastian
Wikipedia: Saint Sebastian
Christian Iconography: Saint Sebastian, Martyr

Next: A crucifix on the first of four altars we shall visit on the north side of the nave.

Previous santo

Achiutla introduction

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.