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.
St. Nicholas Factor
| Saint Nicholas Factor:
The skull rests on the open left palm. Much dust has covered the statue, but one can still admire the life-like sheen to the skin. The detailing of the hands is rather perfunctory, as is the skull. The right hand is broken and hanging from the wrist by little more than a thread. Red wax has been drizzled onto the fracture at the wrist, as if to represent blood. The garments and cord are part of the carving.
The statue has been repainted, but high on the breast of the habit some of the most recent paint has chipped away, revealing a glint of gold beneath that seems certain to be polychrome. There is a similar chip at the left shoulder.
Local Name: San Nicolás
Basis for Identification: The
tonsure, brown habit, and cord identify the figure as a
Franciscan, the skull and halo as St. Nicholas Factor, a
renowned contemplative. Teitipac and
Zaachila also have statues of this saint, who was
identified as "San Nicolás" by our informants
there. For more information on this saint, see the
discussion of his statue at Santo Domingo
Site: Church of San Juan Guelavia.
Media and construction: Polychrome? Eyes: glass, with lashes.
Size: About 2 feet (60 cm.)
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.
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.