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 Pedro y San Pablo Etla:

Christ at the pillar
Christ fallen under the cross
Christ in the pretorium
Christ in the purple cloak
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Luke
St. Paul
St. Peter the Apostle
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)
Soledad group
Unidentified saint (1)
Unidentified saint (2)
Unidentified saint (3)
Virgin Mary

Other santos not photographed

Christ Seated in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ")

Christ Seated in the Pretorium:
The statue sits almost casually on a column set on an andas. The skin has a greenish tinge. The crown of thorns is in the basketweave pattern. The right hand is positioned as if to hold a scepter, but there is none. Blood flows down the left hand as if from the face, though the cheek does not actually touch the hand. The garments are fancier recreation of the clothing of a Mexican laborer. A tasselled gold rope replaces the usual leather belt.

Local Name: El Dios de la Peña.

Basis for Identification: Seated, blood streaming from the crown of thorns (basketweave pattern), red (nearly purple) cape, long white trousers edged in cutwork, white shirt, cheek resting on left hand.

Site: Church of San Pedro y San Pablo Etla.

Location: Second bay in the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, polyester garments. Eyes: glass, with lashes. Hair: wig.

Size: Life size.

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: EjutlaGuelavia, Tamazulapan, Teitipac1, Teitipac2, Teposcolula, Tilantongo, Tlacolula, Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
The episode of the purple robe is in John 19:1-5.
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Ecce Homo.

Next: In this same bay, a group of santos of the Soledad, another Virgin Mary, and Christ in the purple cloak

Previous santo

Introduction to San Pedro y San Pablo Etla

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.