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
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)

Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad):
There is some departing from the usual look of a Soledad. There is no crown, the mantle does not close off one's view of the neck, and it is black with blue embroidery rather than the traditional black and silver. The gaze is straight ahead rather than downward. The hands are about to close together in prayer. They are realistically done, with just a touch of rubberiness. The face has a healthy and lifelike glow.

Local Names: Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, La Virgen de la Soledad.

Basis for Identification: Head-to-floor mantle making a triangular overall shape, dark garments, hands closing in prayer.

Site: Church of San Miguel Achiutla.

Location: In a glass case in the south wall of the apse (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint. Eyes: glass, with lashes. The statue is bald under the mantle.

Size: About 42 inches (107 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Santa Ana del Valle, Coixtlahuaca, Cuilapan, Ejutla, Etla, Huitzo, Mitla, Teotitlán, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2, Tilantongo, Xoxocotlán, Yanhuitlán, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Mater Dolorosa

Next: The first of two small statues of St. Michael on an altar along the south wall of the nave

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.