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 Santiago Cuilapan:
Christ Carrying the Cross
Christ on Palm Sunday
Christ Resurrected

Immaculate Heart of Mary
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Sorrows 1
Our Lady of Sorrows 2
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Rosary
Sacred Heart of Jesus
St. James the Moorslayer
St. Joseph
St. Michael the Archangel
Unidentified Dominican
Unidentified Saint
Virgin and Child

Other santos not photographed

Palm Sunday Christ

Palm Sunday Christ (a "Palmesel"):
The material seems to be the same as the Resurrected Christ standing beside it, possibly corn- or cane-paste though the features are more standard and the statue does not seem to be the work of the same artist. The robe is white, the cape purple. The right hand is not raised in the traditional gesture of Palm Sunday Christs. Neither hand is visible beneath the sleeves. The face and the mount have been repainted.

Basis for Identification: Riding a donkey, which stands on an andas.

Other characteristics: White robe, purple cape.

Site: Basilica of Santiago Cuilapan.

Location: In the second bay of the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Hollow construction. Fabric garments, real hair (donkey's mane and tail), leather harness. Hair: carved. Eyes: painted.

Size: About feet (135 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Santa Ana del ValleMitla, Ocotlán, Díaz Ordaz, Tamazulapan, Teitipac, Teotitlán, Teposcolula, Tlacolula, Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Palmesel

Next: In the same bay, a statue of the resurrected Christ.

Previous santo

Introduction to Santiago Cuilapan

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.