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

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart of Jesus:
The color tones of the skin suggest that this is a more recent example. Unlike plaster Sacred Hearts, the figure does not point to the heart; the hands hang palm-forward at the thigh. The scepter is tied into his right hand. The hands are dull and have a have a rubbery look.

Local Name: El Sagrado Corazón de Jesús

Basis for Identification: Heart on chest, full golden crown, scepter with detailed globe.

Other characteristics: White robe, gold sash, red cape. The palms of the hands are half-covered by the cuffs of the robe, so one cannot tell whether they have the marks of the nails of the Crucifixion, as Sacred Heart images often do.

Site: Basilica of Santiago Cuilapan.

Location: In a glass case in the third bay of the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments, metal crown and scepter, metal heart. Hair: polyester wig. Eyes: glass, with eyelashes. Closed mouth.

Size: About 5½ feet (165 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: AchiutlaHuitzo, Tamazulapan, Teposcolula, Yanhuitlán, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Wikipedia: Sacred Heart

Next: Moving to the right of the main altar, we shall examine a statue of St. James the Moorslayer.

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.