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 San Miguel Ejutla:
Christ: Ecce Homo
Christ Mocked in the Pretorium
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Assumption
St. Francis of Assisi
St. John the Evangelist
St. Mary Magdalene
Unidentified Dominican Saint
Unidentified Franciscan Saint (1)
Unidentified Franciscan Saint (2)
Virgin Mary in a coffin

Other santos not photographed

Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)

Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad):
The face is unusually long, with a long, aquiline nose, slightly bulbous eyes and an exaggerated lower lip. The eyebrows are dark. The skin is lighter than usual in Soledad figures. We assume that her arms are movable because they are tied together at the hands and hang from a black cord looped around the neck. On a black velvet cloth hanging behind the Virgin are eleven rows of silver amulets representing praying figures.

Local Name: Nuestra Señora de la Soledad.

Basis for Identification: Virgin in golden crown wearing a black and silver mantle that reaches from the top of the head nearly to the floor, hands together as in prayer.

Other characteristics: Heart-shaped frame around the wimple.

Site: Church of San Miguel Ejutla.

Location: Centered on an altar along the north wall of the nave, in a glass case (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric clothing, metal crown and wimple frame. Eyes: glass.

Size: Life size.

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

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Virgin Mary in Mexico
Christian Iconography: The Virgin and Child

Next: On the same altar, a statue of St. John the Evangelist.

Introduction to San Miguel Ejutla

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.