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.
San Miguel Ejutla:
The first joints of the index finger and pinkie are gone from the right hand. The left hand lacks the first joints of all fingers. The halo is new and silvered. The pattern of the polychrome is of the four feathers or white-oak leaves used in Tlacolula for the St. John and Our Lady of Sorrows, but the work is not as elegant. In this case, the colors are brown and gold. The statue is uninspiring, the face too pat – glossy and unrealistic. The folds of the robes are perfunctory and are drawn back awkwardly to reveal the toes. The statue stands on a simple wooden slab, slightly rounded to support the splayed feet.
Basis for Identification: Halo, tonsure, brown habit and cord with three knots, floor-length cross in left hand.
Site: Church of San Miguel Ejutla.
Location: On an altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe along the north wall of the narthex, right of the Virgin (see note).
Media and construction: Polychrome.
Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)
the main altar, a
statue of another Franciscan saint
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
of the nave on the
north and south. (The
nave is the long central section.)
Actual orientations may differ.
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photographers, Claire and Richard Stracke, without
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