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 Santo Domingo Díaz Ordaz:

Our Lady of Sorrows
Palm Sunday Christ
St. Joseph
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)
St. Peter the Apostle
Virgin and Child (1)
Virgin and Child (2)

Other santos not photographed

St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)

Saint Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr):
The polychrome is in excellent condition and the workmanship, though stylized, is of great delicacy. The face is long and rectangular. The effect, in spite of the bleeding head wound, is of restraint in the midst of great suffering.

The major block of the statue, the white and gold robe, on being tapped, proved to be of a solid piece of wood. The black and gold mantle and cape are of stiffened cloth. Three different patterns of complicated arabesques decorate the robe, apron and mantle. The lining of the cape, where it is intended to be seen, is deco-rated in a bold black check with broad scratches of gold. The areas under and behind the arms are of cream color with slight scratches of gold.

The right hand lacks the index finger and part of the pinky, and the right eye has slipped a little into the head cavity. The martyr's palm and book have been tied on, the first to the right hand and the second to the left. They are carved of wood and polychromed. Their workmanship would suggest that they are original to the statue, as is the axe. A long staff decorated in bold stripes of plastic holds a circle of woven straw decorated in yarn and has been tied to the hand that holds the palm.

Local Name: San Pedro Mártir

Basis for Identification: Dominican holding book and palm branch, axe in head.

Site: Church of Santo Domingo Díaz Ordaz.

Location: On the altar along the north wall of the nave, just past the narthex (see note).

Media and construction: Polychrome. Eyes: glass.

Size: About 3 feet tall (90 cm.) on a solid wooden base atop a polychromed octagonal that is about 18 by 6 inches (46 by 15 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Santa Ana del Valle, Coixtlahuaca, Cuilapan, Etla, HuitzoTeitipac, Tlacolula, Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. Peter of Verona in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Peter of Verona
Wikipedia: Peter of Verona
Christian Iconography: St. Peter Martyr

Next: On the same altar, a statue of St. Peter the Apostle

Previous santo

Introduction to Santo Domingo Díaz Ordaz

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.