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 Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca:

Assumption + St. Peter
Christ at the Pillar

Christ Child (1)

Christ Child (2)
Christ Fallen with the Cross
Main altar
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Rosary
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Isidore the Laborer
St. Martin de Porres + 2 angels
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)
Unidentified Dominican saint
Unidentified, possibly St. Lucy
Unidentified saint (1)
Unidentified saint (2)
Unidentified saint (3)
Virgin Mary (1)
Virgin Mary (2)
Virgin Mary (3 - in a coffin)

Santos not photographed
The Main Altar: Two statues of St. John the Baptist and one of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Main Altar
Site: Church of San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca.

Saint John the Baptist, in the niche above:
The lilies are tied to the back of the right hand. There are just a few traces of what is taken to be polychrome; the statue is not in good condition.

Local Name: San Juan Bautista.

Basis for Identification: Lamb on book in left hand.

Other characteristics: Holding lilies.

Media and construction: Possibly polychrome.

Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)

Saint John the Baptist, before the curtain:
The sheen of the skin is exceptionally fine and lifelike. The elaborate polychrome garments seem to be over something representing the more traditional animal-skin garment. The right index finger points to a lamb at the figure's feet, which is nearly hidden by the cape. The halo is a simple circle.

Local Name: San Juan Bautista.

Basis for Identification: Floor-length cross, halo, lamb at feet.

Other characteristics: Red cape.

Media and construction: Polychrome, fabric cape.

Size: About 5 feet (150 cm.)

Comparable santos of John the Baptist Oaxaca:  Achiutla, Huitzo, Mitla, Tamazulapan, Tamazulapan (as child), Teitipac, Teitipac (Beheading), Teitipac (San Juanito), Teotitlán, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. John the Baptist in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. John the Baptist
Wikipedia: John the Baptist
Christian Iconography: St. John the Baptist, Prophet and Martyr

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in front

Local Name: La Virgen del Carmen, more formally Nuestra Señora de Monte Carmelo.

Basis for Identification: Virgin in brown habit with bib and scapular holding child in white dress.

Media and construction: Modern construction.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Cuilapan, Ejutla, Etla, Guelavia, Huitzo, Teitipac, Teposcolula, Tlaxiaco, Xoxocotlán, Zaachila, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Nuestra Señora del Carmen in Mexico
Wikipedia: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Virgen del Carmen (in Spanish).
Christian Iconography: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Next: We go to the first bay in the south wall for the Virgin Mary recumbent in a glass case.

Previous santo

Introduction to San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca

Santos Home Page

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.