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

Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)

Santo name:
This appears to be of recent manufacture. The hands are even less detailed than is the norm for representations of the Virgin in Oaxaca.

Local Name: La Virgen de la Soledad.

Basis for Identification: Black gown, dark silvered mantle framing face and reaching from the top of the head nearly to the floor. Crown with cross on top. Long, pale face – but looking down, unlike most Soledad statues.

Site: Basilica of Santiago Cuilapan.

Location: Along the south wall of the nave, in a glass case (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric clothing. Hair: carved hair. Eyes: painted.

Size: About 5½ feet (165 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Santa Ana del Valle, CoixtlahuacaEjutla, Etla, Huitzo, Mitla, Teotitlán, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2, Tilantongo, Xoxocotlán, Yanhuitlán, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Mater Dolorosa

Next: Also along the south wall, a statue of the Virgin Mary (Immaculate Heart of Mary)

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.