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.
St. James the Moorslayer
James the Moorslayer:
The horse is white and has a cocked
head and alert expression; it is painted wood with
braided rope harness, leather saddle, metal stirrups,
and real hair for forelock and tail; it is newer
than the saint.
The position of the hands, shape of
the beard, gentle expression of the face, and the
downcast eyes suggest the statue was originally a Palm
Sunday Christ, though the mount is definitely not an
ass. Moreover, it is too small for the horse and the
feet do not fit in the stirrups. The helmet is too small
for the head.
Local Name: Santiago Matamoros
Basis for Identification: Knight in
armor on horseback with sword.
Other characteristics: Red cape, yellow shirt, blue breeches, black boots.
Site: Basilica of Santiago Cuilapan.
Location: Right of the main altar.
Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, textile clothing. Boots added. Eyes seem too dull to be glass. 4' excluding horse.
Size: About four feet (120 cm.)
excluding the horse.
the south wall of the nave, a statue of a Dominican
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