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
Christ Child

The Christ Child, possibly a home-made rendering of the Santo Niño de Atocha:
The flat-topped red hat has a gold band and is held to the chin by a string. The hair is waist-length and brown. The figure carries a basket and sits on a red chair in a capacious off-white robe embroidered in gold, with three gold buttons at the neck.

Basis for Identification: This appears to be the Santo Niño de Atocha, who is typically represented seated on a chair, with long hair, a broad-brimmed hat, a basket in one hand and a traveler's staff in the other. Here we have no staff, but the right hand is curled as if to hold one.

It is also just possible that this could be the Virgin Mary: the hair is much longer than the Niño figure's usually shoulder-length style; the hat is gaily colored (the Niño's is usually brown) and is consistent with the broad-brimmed hats on adult Virgin Mary statues in Achiutla, Yanhuitlán, and Xoxocotlán, all of which also wear white.

Site: Church of San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca.

Location: In a glass case set into the bottom center of the retablo in the second bay in the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric robe, wooden chair. Eyes: glass, with lashes. Hair: wig.

Size: About 12 inches (30 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla (with Sacred Heart), Coixtlahuaca2, Huitzo (boy, not infant), Teotitlán, Yanhuitlán1 (in case with crucifix), Yanhuitlán2.

External Links:
Google Images: Santo Niño de Atocha

Wikipedia: Santo Niño de Atocha

Next: In the same retablo, a statue of a female saint who may be St. Lucy.

Previous santo

Introduction to San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca

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.