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:
Christ Seated in the
| Christ Seated in the Pretorium:
The head angles slightly to the right. The knees are skinned so deeply that the muscles show beneath. Blood is spattered over the trunk and loin cloth. The paint is dull and has green-gray tones, especially around the eyes at the tip of the nose, and at the edges of the wounds. The same blue-gray is used to shadow the stomach and the thighs. Wood can be seen where the toes are chipped. The crown is made of two strands of stiffened rope braided together, from which jut out thorns.
The hands are folded together at the wrists, the right above the left, then tied with a rope that is looped around the neck. This placement would suggest that the figure is a hinged mannequin, but the legs are not jointed. The figure is permanently seated. It could not be used as El Señor de la Misericordia.
Local Name: El Dios de la
Basis for Identification: Scepter, crown of thorns, hands tied together by the ends of a gold-colored lasso hanging from the neck, brief loincloth knotted over right hip, red cape, bloody knees.
Site: Church of San Miguel Ejutla.
Location: South wall of the nave (see note).
Media and construction: Wood,
gesso, paint, fabric cape,
bamboo scepter. Eyes: glass, with
lashes. Hair: wig. Open mouth, sculpted teeth.
Size: Life size.
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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